Monday, August 27, 2012

Quantum Psychology, Chapter 10

[For this chapter, I thought it would be most convenient for folks who don't have a copy of the book handy to quote the last two paragraphs of the chapter and then the exercise. Duality of objects will return next week, using Eric Wagner's suggestion in the comments. -- The Mgt.]

Perhaps Zen Buddhism can enlighten us. After all, Zen has promised us enlightenment for several hundred years now.

A Zen koan of long standing goes as follows: The roshi (Zen teacher) holds up a staff and says, "If you call this a staff, you affirm. If you say it is not a staff, you deny. Beyond affirmation or denial, what is it?"

EXERCISE

I suggest that readers reflect on what has been said so far, about the Seven Forbidden Words and the "fussy mutt" and the killings in Northern Ireland. Reflect on "the map is not the territory" and "the menu is not the meal." Close the book, close  your eyes, sit quietly, and think about this Zen riddle. Wait a minute and see if a light slowly dawns on you.


7 comments:

Eric Wagner said...

It strikes me how valuable Bob found E-Prime in the early '90s. I think I understand the zen parable of the stick, but I likely have much more to learn about it.

Fhom Toolery said...

Any attempt to answer the question, "beyond affirmation or denial, what is it" using any form of symbol system inevitably results in an affirmation or denial of some sort.

Having said that, the Buddhist idea of pratitya-samutpada or "dependent origination" (or, as Thich Nhat Hanh translates it, "interbeing") does a pretty decent job of making use of language to get at a "reality" which is non-linguistic.

To deny that the staff is in fact a carved piece of wood used for walking, whacking sleeping students in the zendo, etc. is to deny apparent reality and so is seen as incorrect in that regard. (This is analogous to the "nihilism" critiqued by the Buddha, to which the "origination" part of "dependent origination" is a response. In other words, in the koan there is the experience of something we call a staff and to deny that is to deny experience.)

To affirm that the staff is a staff is to deny everything else that the staff implies (so, for example, the wood from which the staff is made, the tree from which the wood was obtained, the labor that went into felling the tree and carving the staff, the sunlight that enabled the tree to grow, the hydrogen atoms in the sun whose fusion into helium atoms provides the sunlight, ad infinitum). Reifying the staff as a staff and denying everything that it "inter-is" is seen as equally incorrect as denying that is is a staff. (This is analogous to the "eternalism" critiqued by the Buddha, to which the "dependent" part of "dependent origination" is a response. In other words, in the koan there is the coming together of everything in the universe in this particular here and now to produce the experience of something we call a staff but that is never reducible to just being the staff, independent of everything else.)

But all those are words too. Fingers pointing to the moon. The light that dawns on me is not those words, but it isn't separate from those words either... and so it goes.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I can't do better than Fhom Toolery (Thom Foolery in the earlier comments?), but I can record my thoughts as I worked on RAW's koan.

At first, I thought about while it would be impossible to capture all of the attributes of the staff, it is possible to get an accurate description of it but cataloging its size, shape, what kind of wood it is made of, what color it is, hjow it is used, etc.

Then it dawned on me that there is no staff; there is only a koan about a staff that RAW made up. I haven't seen the staff or a Zen roshi. In fact, I don't believe I've ever met a Zen roshi. The "staff" is only a mental construction in my brain.

phodecidus said...

[This post contains evidence of an emic reality has been removed by the moderator. - The Mgt]

Zhenhong Bao said...

rolex watches for sale
true religion outlet
rolex watches
ghd hair straighteners
longchamp pliage
toms shoes
ralph lauren outlet
lebron james shoes
rolex uk
fitflop sale
iphone case
ralph lauren polo shirts
tory burch outlet
mont blanc pens
beats by dr dre
chaussure louboutin
burberry outlet store
longchamp outlet
nba jerseys
michael kors outlet
mulberry handbags
cheap jordans
hollister clothing store
oakley sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses
christian louboutin uk
reebok trainers
polo ralph lauren
coach outlet store
mulberry handbags
ralph lauren uk
toms outlet
fitflops shoes
tiffany and co
coach outlet online
20160523zhenhong

ane semprul said...

This blog is so nice to me. I will continue to come here again and again. Visit my link as well. Good luck
obat aborsi
cara menggugurkan kandungan
obat telat datang bulan
obat penggugur kandungan

Fangyaya said...

burberry outlet
canada goose coats
true religion outlet
true religion outlet
toms sale
tod's shoes
toms outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
fake watches
michael kors uk
uggs for cheap
coach factory outlet
toms shoes
pandora jewelry
kate spade handbags
hermes birkin bag
adidas uk
hermes handbags
christian louboutin outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
lebron 13 shoes
michael kors handbags
kobe 9
replica watches
ugg outlet online
fitflops
ugg slippers
cheap oakley sunglasses
adidas originals
chenyingying20160903