Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A picture metaphor with misplaced parts

As in the paragraph with all the words misspelled, the key is to find the background for the parts to have meaning.


The way is the most obvious, it is the way of the universe
The way is the most disguised, behind the veil of its myriad variations
The way is the prime motive, with the gravity of its stillness

Tao te ching, is a collection of Chinese wisdom from the time of Confucius under the name Lao Tzu. While scholars may argue ‘til they’re blue in the face about whether there even was an individual with such a name much less whether he was the author of it all, part or none of it, they are demonstrating total ignorance of the essence of the teachings by insisting on catagorizing authorship of such universally enlightened and enlightening sayings. But that is a variation of the way called academia, with its specimen jars and bugs pinned to green velvet getting such samples of the way as far from their natural context as possible to examine the thingness, the individuality, the explainability, the knowing, and eventually, the fact of the thing. While the way, the context, the basis, the essence, that, without which there would be no examples or academics to examine them, gets lost in its wonderous myriad of various distractions for seekers of truth in definable facts.

Enlightenment of the way does not come to those who seek to define it, for definitions limit the defined to the least possible light. But on some far extreme from the academic we find its balancing variation in the heresies of the mystic, the spiritualist, the philosopher and the artist who seek to demonstrate the relationship of academia’s specific things back to larger, more sublime themes. The problem in freeing these specimens long trapped in definition is the tautological one-way door in the academic cage of language. The best metaphor I have ever imagined for this escape from the myth believed to be fact by defenders of truth is the mobius loop and its infinite connection of this to all it is not.

Don’t ask a fish about water except where they pierce its surface
Don’t ask a cat about air except the reflection where its paw gets wet
Neither need describe the way of everything in their world
Exceptions to its invisibility wake primal curiosity,
Demands closer examination of a variation
Of the way of another world.
A more distant consideration reveals the way of both,
And all other worlds.

Why these note? — to trap the invisible in poetic smoke outlining where it isn’t like the invisible man? — impossible when it is the way of the smoke too, leaving words to deal with variations of its constant theme. Descriptions are no more lies than they are truth.

Because it is the way of everything, it is invisible
Because it is invisible, the sage sees it with eyes closed
Because it is varied, the devotee glimpses it through Mayas veil
Because it is intangible, the fool collects its myriad manifestations

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