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seeking the path

appendix ii Satisfaction is certainly satisfaction of craving. But satisfaction of craving is not appeasement of craving; just the contrary; it is continuation of craving. ‘We never seek things, but the pursuit of things’, to quote Pascal again. And this continued satisfaction of craving clearly depends on the fact of feeling. Satisfaction, it should seem, is the mode of existence of craving, and implies that this mode of existence is satisfactory. But feeling may be unpleasant or neutral as well as pleasant, and how can unpleasant or neutral feeling be satisfactory? It is clear that by satisfactory we must understand least unsatisfactory; and to say that the mode of existence of craving is satisfaction is then to say that craving always exists in the least unpleasant mode available.6 But though this mode of craving, or attitude, is the least unpleasant that is available, it may still be very unpleasant (or merely neutral) from a reflexive point of view. Our nature (or attitude, or mode of craving) changes, then, when it is no longer the least unpleasant available. And this implies the continual presence of a tacit consciousness with a perpetual discrimination of feeling at varying levels of generality; for without such consciousness there would be no possible way of having alternative attitudes constantly available. Craving is the gradient of feeling, and it exists in the least unpleasant mode available: this requires that there should be a perpetual implicit transverse consciousness of feeling (as having a certain gradient—positive or pleasant, zero or neutral, or negative or unpleasant) at varying levels in the progressive actualization of the future. The future as such actually exists simply as our perpetual expectancy, or absolute faith, that the present world will continue (to intend is, precisely, to have this faith). This expectancy is always justified down to some level of particularity, though down to which level we only discover in the event: it is, in fact, the lowest level of generality at which the gradient of feeling is favourable. Thus the world we get, however unexpected, is never entirely unexpected; and it cannot but be the least unpleasant available. We are always living in the best of all possible worlds. See appendix v. Notice, incidentally, that the change in my attitude regarding sweet tea, which is impossible without tacit consciousness, does not necessarily involve explicit deliberation and reasoning; or if it does, these things, being essentially derivative, are not involved in the same way as tacit consciousness. I am quite likely to say ‘I used to enjoy sweet tea, but somehow I don’t seem to fancy the idea any more’; and in fact we commonly find that 6.  [From here to the end of paragraph:] This won’t do.


Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

Part B includes two early essays (Nibbana and Anatta and Sketch for a Proof of Rebirth) as well as notes from a Commonplace Book and Margina...