A symptom’s point of view does more than anything I’ve found to carry out what chapter 4 recommends. That is, Subdue its sharpness, separate its confusion, Soften its brightness, be the same as its dust. (photo: is this weirdly ugly or awesomely beautiful?)
The symptom’s point of view is about managing how we judge the world. The natural way of judging the world simply mirrors the needs and fears of the person judging. Of course, this occurs sub-cognitively. People aren’t generally self-aware enough to know this as they pass judgment on the world out there. For example, if I’m afraid of snakes, I’m likely to judge snaky things as weird and ugly, or perhaps on a positive note, awesome and beautiful!
Then again, fear and need can often link quite indirectly to the judgments we make. For example, judging rich people “bad”, doesn’t mean one fears them, or needs money. Nevertheless, rich people represent some issue, however tangential, that originates in a detractor’s personal fear or need. Often, our fairness instinct triggers the negative bias toward the rich, (google [Unfair Trade: Monkeys demand equitable exchanges]). Such instinctive emotion overwhelms any wish we have for making fair and impartial judgments. Yet, there is a way around this instinct-driven dilemma.
Simply asking, “Why is this (you name it) the way it is” before passing either a positive or negative verdict helps avoid falling into a subjective bias-driven trap. For example, when I see someone behaving inappropriately, I ask, “What does he need or fear that drives him to such behavior?” This is liberating because the drama of judgment ceases to draw me into battle. My needs and fears can stop contending with another’s needs and fears. Chapter 8’s, It is because it does not contend that it is never at fault describes the resulting liberating benefit. What’s more, viewing life this way reveals how life actually is instead of how I think it should be.
What is evil?
The symptom’s-point-of-view offers another way to interpret the proverb, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. Clearly, nature in the wild isn’t evil, although as chapter 5 observes, Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs. In contrast, our perception of evil occurs when life doesn’t match our ideals of how life ‘should be’, and those ‘should be’ ideals merely mirror our own needs and fears. (photo: see, hear, and speak no evil)
Any effort to discover the circumstances that led up to the matters that concern us helps pull thought away from judging their ostensible reality, and pulls awareness into an ever-expanding, ever-deepening web of circumstances that created these matters in the first place. That eventually leaves the mind nearly empty and Deep like the ancestor of every-thing, as chapter 4 puts it. The urge to “judge a book by its cover” is all but impossible as we sense what is actually so. See See No Evil, p.210.