Thursday, April 28, 2005

What’s the sound of one hand clapping?

No, What’s the name of the guy on second base. This is also my favorite simple example of confusion of ideas. Clapping is defined as two objects, brought together rapidly, usually to produce a noise. Hands can clap. I can clap you in irons, or I can clap you on the shoulder, or I can clap cymbals together. I cannot, if my life depended on it, sit around and contemplate semantic nonsense until my brain rots. I’d rather make love to a cactus. There is no higher consciousness to be obtained by mentally masturbating. Eventually, you might allow yourself to be convinced that there is, if you invest enough time in it.

Student: “I don’t get it!”
Teacher: “Keep trying.”
Student (thinking to self) “There must be something wrong with me. Why can’t I get it?”
Gotcha!

These Yogis or Sufis or Baba-yagas or whatever they want to call themselves would chase me away rapidly, loudly proclaiming me to be hopeless.

Teacher: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
I: “Who wants to know?”
Teacher: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
I: “If you don’t know, why should I tell you? Maybe you’re not supposed to know.”
Teacher: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
I: “If a deaf mime sings in the shower, and there’s no one around to hear, is he still a mime?”
Teacher: “Get out!”

Don’t get me wrong. I find a lot of benefit in meditation. I meditate upon lines of poetry, the sayings of Confucius, quantum physics, Einstein’s declaration that God wouldn’t play dice with the universe. I stare out over the beauty of a lake or ocean, and let my mind and body relax. I just don’t let someone tell me to think myself stupid.

2 Comments:

At 3:41 AM, Blogger kalanchoe542 said...

Interesting, that. I, too, have never found myself prone to engage in exercises in futility for very long. Is the world going to be a better place by engaging? If I build it, will they come? Never been accused of being a pragmatist, more like a dreamer, but I tend to dream about the tangible, and leave the existential to the philosophers, authentic and wannabe. They can sit on their mountaintops in rags with their skeletons becoming more apparent every day. Will the world be a better place with their contribution? Or will they simply starve for their efforts? Interesting you use the term
"mental masturbation". I have applied this phrase to a lot of pursuits that seem like they are rooted in common sense but just don't quite make it. You f*** with your own mind instead of involving other people's heads. The problem starts when your activity turns into a pursuit that interferes with the flow of someone else's world.

It's too early in the morning to hold these thoughts together. I need coffee...

 
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