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Monks take the human capacity for desire and turn it around so that, by observing the self that remains unsatisfied, that seeks no satisfaction, another, different self can obtain fulfillment in a different dimension. What convolution! Perhaps it’s a kind of instinctual thought process unique to our species, one that comes into play precisely because we are so proficient at using every possible means to satisfy our longings that we don’t know when to stop. Of all the creatures on the planet, we are capable of the most convoluted thought processes, a piece of good fortune that is perhaps also our misfortune.

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