These are basic Dharma Ideas that may at a later date, or by your
 request, be elaborated into a complete teaching.   

                                      THE VIRTUE OF AFFECT

The archaic sense of the word "affect" is identical to the sense of the word "like," but the modern and better sense is that of "having a leaning towards" or "having a preference for."

Now this distinction becomes very important for basic Dharma understanding, for words are essentially the tool of Cognition and can become easily the vehicle for Identity error and the entry of confusion, acquisition and even aversion.

If for example you see a dish of apples, you may declare "I like apples," which is certainly understood quite clearly. Now when you take the particular and declare "I like that apple" the situation changes, for you are declaring a preference in which there is a polite hint that that is the apple that you want. In fact you desire that apple and you set up an expectation that your want will be satisfied.

Now if, to the contrary, you were to declare that preference in a different way by saying (without hidden desire), "I have a leaning towards that apple," then there is less likelihood that the level of expectation will be as high that you will obtain that apple.

Thus the craving for the apple will be less.

You perhaps can see that this concept of "liking" is a close sister of "wanting" and the change takes place when the intensity of the liking increases.

Once "liking" has been transformed into wanting, no matter how slight it may be, then within cognition "liking" in a myriad of forms is converted in a calvary of desires, resulting expectations and suffering with intense craving and clinging.

The secret of liberation from this is to see that there is a true affect which accompanies a natural approach to any phenomenon, be it an idea, a person or a simple tomato.

I am indeed then declaring that the affect for a tomato is in essence no different than the affect for a partner. There is a difference in conduct with regard to these, for the sexual preference is a right-hemisphere function, but the attraction and the affect have similar intensity.

The mind may then generate other experiences which are natural.

But if one begins with a liking that is transformed into a want, then a desire... then you are in for a mass of suffering.

The great problem with this is that there is then a transformation of attitude towards the most mundane details that generates "me first" as a criterion.

It is only when "we" replaces the "me" that the human creature has a chance of true survival in the world. We are not individuals but a collective... As human creatures, to correctly balance the survival of the human creature is of prime importance, ahead of the individual, but this cannot be effective if we lose sight of our place within the whole of nature and its diversity, including the environment which supports us all.

Now that brings to mind an important observation about the changes in our environment. We are perhaps, as a human creature, concerned about environmental problems, but this is purely intellectual.

We have really lost contact with our environment and all other living creatures.

Our environment is all that is material... our clothes are more important than our own skin, except where beauty and image are concerned. Trees, shrubs, and grassland has been replaced by little sguare boxes (television) inside little square rooms, inside little square houses in little square towns, captured by little square minds. Are you one of them?

While nature has its threads which join all together, the human creature has the threads of roads, highways, communication lines, and the globalized mind.

Having lost touch with nature, he has lost affect and true survival... His world bounds with his likes and dislikes... and his craving and clinging.