‘Should’ is a word which can imply a free will of sorts, i.e., should, would, will. First, let us find an example of how we use the word ‘should’. To find an example that makes a good personal fit, please complete the following sentence by adding your own heart-felt ending:
“We (or I, you, they) should (or should not) ________.” Great, now let’s dig in.
The word “should” is symptomatic of our incessant contention with nature. Not that we “shouldn’t” contend with nature, mind you. It is our nature to contend with nature. The consequence, however, is our perpetual discontentment with what is naturally so. In our simpler pre-language / pre-civilization days that was likely not the problem it has grown to be.
We perceive nature as a two-fold illusion, symbolized by yang and yin. To grasp the significance of yang and yin, it helps to consider concepts to which they correlate, e.g., balanced vs. un-balance; contentment vs. desire; peace vs. war; death vs. life; joy vs. sorrow; and, well, any two pairs of opposites you care to think of. Oh, let’s not forget enlightenment vs. ignorance. The enlightenment myth promises us an escape from one of the pairs – namely the un-balanced sorrow ridden ignorant side of life. Alas, to imagine we can have one (joy and enlightenment) without the other (sorrow and ignorance) is the wishful-thinking fantasy that separates us from the whole and makes us feel even lonelier and at odds with nature than we might otherwise be.
Earthly desire is nature’s yang side. It is the companion of suffering. To desire an escape from suffering, of which the word “should” is symptomatic, only increases suffering. It is like fighting fire with fire. Acceptance, on the other hand, allows us to return to nature, suffering and all. So, should we desire acceptance instead? Ha!
Regardless of the ideology or theology (Christianity, Taoism, Islam,… or whatever) onto which we hang our ‘brain’s mind’, we all trod the path of surrender. In the end, acceptance is all we can ‘do’, yet, we can’t ‘do’ acceptance. We can only ‘fall’ into acceptance when we become too tired to resist the way. Once we let go, the word ‘should’ loses much of its relevance to the life we experience.
The belief that we should (or shouldn’t) do this or that to solve our problems is nearly universal… and universally futile as well. However, knowing that won’t change the emotional drive to feel these ‘shoulds’. Nevertheless, accepting the futility of ‘should’ makes it more difficult to become lost a fantasy world of ‘should’. Having at least one foot in the real world seems to make it easier to let go.