Re: [-empyre-] metaphor

The Voices in my Head tell me that on 11/25/03 2:59 PM, Joel Weishaus at wrote:

> Henry:
> In response to your last post.
> The world you suggest seems, to me, a dead world. If a rock has no
> consciousness, why is our claim to consciousness not delusional?

According to Kurzweil and Dennett, it is delusional because it is something
that can be simulated and replaced. They live in a dead world, IMHO.
According to Ramachandran et al, it isn't delusional, as much as it is
illusional. A subtle but important difference. They live in a live world,
but one where subjectivity is merely a construct of the brain.

> Consciousness is not about language or computations. It's not about
> measuring devices or philosophy. It's about a world in which magic is still
> the driving cultural force.

Read: "Secret Life of Puppets" by Victoria Wilson. She explores that very
point in extreme detail. She sees our present condition as this: we live in
an Aristotelean world of logic and reason. But we demand a NeoPlatonic world
to give us meaning. Hence, we use science to build DVD players so we can
watch Lord of the Rings or Frankenstein or whatever...

So, whether the world is magic or not, isn't completely relevant. We measure
one way, but we dream another.

> A model of reality without it's shadow, its
> mystery, its poetry, its eros, doesn't satisfy me.

I ask less of reality. It comes from a few years spent sitting and later
living in a zendo. That was a formative experience for me, and I have
largely internalised several (but not as much as I would have liked) of the
basic understandings I found in that practice.

One that I keep close is the Heart Sutra. Here is a relevant, if highly
edited, passage:

Form is fundamentally void (sunyata), no birth, no death. Nothing is
defiled, nothing is pure. Nothing can increase, nothing can decrease. Hence,
in sunyata, no form, no feeling, no thought, no volition, no consciousness.
No seeing, no hearing, no smelling, no tasting, no touching, no thinking. No
world of sight, no world of consciousness. No ignorance, and no end to
ignorance. No old age and death and no end to old age and death. No
suffering, no craving, no extinction, no path, no wisdom, no attainment.
Indeed, there is nothing to be attained.

No magic. No mystery. No shadow. But no end to illusions, no end to
questions, no end to the murk. No beauty, no end to beauty. No art, no end
to art. No here and now, nothing but the here and now.

Poetry, you ask? With a friend, I've been editing/writing some lately.

Here, try this:

The Gift of Chairs

Seemingly simple, at last, in repulsion
of a vacancy, 
she blends the colours of sky
and sea distressed pine - -
once a piece of childhood,
once one of seven called Mediterranean
in the hope of compiling yet another
mnemonic catastrophe
into alien clarity - - she lays down her signs:

the snake, the crow, the bear,
evil eye and ashes,
a broken cross and the perfection
of circles.

But it's not so simple.
When I came through my only door
into a beautiful place,
(a beautiful place)
night falling on my shoulders
(and pulling my arms)
through absent friends and silent lightning
from the storm that passed the event horizon -
as the wings and crown
of the one love 
(my only love)
I made out of death
wishes, dreams, and a fading afternoon
of sweetness and shade - -
to pine again - - and guard my honour:

She arrives: a gunshy angel,
whether of mercy or justice,
always on duty for nightwatch.

I can only love this moment,
our lives smeared across timelines,
while sitting in the dark beneath
her bleary gaze.

Or maybe it's simple after all.

A couple, romantic intruders,
and useless
as pigeons - - a simple matter
of translation - - sit on a bench
by a church of cool ivy and hedges,
in a cage's silence and Kent.
If they were statues,
they'd be dismantled,
tossed out and sold for scrap -

so worthless
 so uniquely unappealing
  so full of nothing in particular
    so vagrant in time and mind
     so ever known and ever lost.

My sentinel smiles and points at their ground:

"What if", she says,
"instead of from there", she twists
to point across the street,
at a tree shaking with laughter -
"gravity came from over there?"

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