Aimless wandering

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In seated formal mindfulness meditation , we tend to use the breath as an anchor. Graham points out, for Chuang Tzu "all disputation starts from arbitrary acts of naming". Why then did he write the book at all?

Aimless wandering


Religious Taoism certainly established such a back-reading. Attractors animate "random" matter into coherent shapes - but in reality the attractor only "exists" IN the material process itself. The vessel fills up and empties again and again - same vessel, but potentially a new meaning each day. However, little by little it became apparent that such a "reading" would not hold. Supernaturalism and materialism both appear equally funny to him. Think for example of a swirl of smoke in the air. No doubt any reading of a "spiritual" text may have some validity since the spirit is by definition indefinable ; the Tao Te Ching has proved especially malleable. One might coin the term "Taoist dialectics" to describe the action of this tertium quid, which bears so uncanny a resemblance to the Strange Attractor, the "catastrophe machine". So with washing the dishes, you start to feel like Oh, this is a chore. Inasmuch as language is arbitrary one may occupy any position or use any definitions to expound the Way. These dolls by the way are shaped like gourds and were probably originally made from gourds. Words are like wind and water. Usually women, as in western spiritualism, these mediums act as amanuensis to the spooks, and have transmitted everything from garbage to canonical scripture. First there is saying from a lodging-place. Mao Shan Taoism was founded in this way, by two mediums channeling a dead woman sage under the influence of hemp incense. The Tao is not "God", as some Christian translators still believe. Language is at once totally "arbitrary" and yet capable of meaning. There are words beneath or upon the words, which flow out spontaneously and find their channels, their expression, their use in a given situation. Once attuned to this flow, the sage need make no special effort to "illumine", for language DOES IT by itself, spontaneously. To illustrate this chaos-ontology we could do worse than investigate Chuang Tzu's take on language. Words are the means to get the idea where you want it, catch on to the idea and you forget about the words. At its most chaotic and ambiguous peak of expression, it "saves" language itself - both from the tyranny of any lord, and from the abyss of aloneness. Much as I admire the aesthetics of both schools I can "agree" with neither. In seated formal mindfulness meditation , we tend to use the breath as an anchor. In Chinese myth Chaos is not a figure of Evil as in most western mythology , but is instead full of potential, benevolent if somewhat eerie, the ultimate force and source of all creation. But Chuang Tzu not only has no metaphysics, he actually condemns and derides metaphysics.

Aimless wandering

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3 Replies to “Aimless wandering”

  1. This aspect of language is not "the Way", and at worst can become a "chopping to bits and disputing over alternatives".

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