Re: [-empyre-] metaphor

And I offer to you Steven Heine's "Opening a Mountain: Koans of the Zen
Masters." Even to Zen Masters, the world was, and is, mysterious. An
illusion, yes; but one that contains ghosts, dragons, and mysterious women.
That "we measure one way, but we dream another" is true. And I will read
Wilson's book. Thanks!
What zendo did you live in?


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Henry Warwick" <>
To: "soft_skinned_space" <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 12:24 AM
Subject: 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
> 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
> > 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
> an Aristotelean world of logic and reason. But we demand a NeoPlatonic
> 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
> 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
> 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.
> in sunyata, no form, no feeling, no thought, no volition, no
> No seeing, no hearing, no smelling, no tasting, no touching, no thinking.
> 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,
>                   aimless
> 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?"
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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