The Buddha said life is suffering (dukkha). Suffering is the condition of unsatisfactoriness. Immediate pain and sadness is of course suffering. But in happiness, in avoidance of pain and sadness, we are still in the condition of suffering.
To understand this and to change one’s mindset one can end suffering or end the illusion of suffering. True “happiness” is not temporal happiness but a seemingly transcends time and space. By extension even this true happiness is illusionary. Nonetheless we must pursue it as if it is there even though it is not there.
The observation of an object does not change anything of its existence. Observation neither makes something more nor less existent. Quantum mechanics may say something different but in pragmatic terms it does not change or affect how we face life and death. It is about experience and not about existence.
I think therefore I seem to be.
An abandoned house has a fridge with food in it. It has been there for at least six months. And it has spoilt. Flies are having a good time feasting upon the rotting organic matter. What or who observes it? The flies? The fungi? God? Are we arguing that a perception-less universe cannot exist?
The subject is never necessary in my opinion. There are only objects. The subject is accidental.
Truths are a process of a subject (a thing), and not a thing-in-itself.
A clear understanding of what exists and what are processes of existent things is necessary. From observation we can judge this. While this judgement is not perfect or complete it is the only method with which we have to judge. To chase any other method would be to deny the fact of this impossibly and be inauthentic to the reality.
The medium is the message. It always has been. It always will be. There is no escape from the medium.
What does it mean when we say “we are free to do anything we want”?
It means we are deluded into thinking we are isolated individuals outside of an interconnect world. Everything I do affects everything else around me, so long as I related to it in some way.
So the question is is there any thing, space or time from which we are not related to all else? Experience tells me no. Some may argue that freedom is in the mind. But if the mind is located in the body, in the brain, then it is itself a relational operation. There is no thing which operates outside of things, space and time. Every action has real consequences. To think that even your thoughts do not have consequences is to be sorely mistaken. For although they do not have immediate “outer” consequences they have “inner” ones. They affect the body that thinks. To think is in itself an action.
There is no intrinsic nature (svabhava) to conditioned phenomena. All conditioned (samskara) and unconditioned (dharma) phenomena are without self (anatman) and are empty (shunyata). All conditioned phenomena are impermanent (anitya) and unsatisfactory (duhkha).
With this as base Buddhism teaches enlightenment (or release) (nirvana) that ends all rebirth (samsara, reincarnation).