Ruptured Rhapsody

A different kind of "blog," consisting of selections from my scribblings over many years. The date of each post is the date I originally wrote that piece. So, the top post is usually not the latest post, because I continually add writings from different years to the blog. If you have visited here before, you are likely to find new posts anywhere on the page. I'll continue to add "new" posts as my time allows.

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Location: Toronto, Canada

14 January 1985

It’s for a good causality

Causality has generally been misunderstood. The concept of a mechanical, and therefore meaningless, causality misses the “intentionality” or purpose that is inherent in causality; in other words, the correct meaning of the world “causality” contains the connotation of purpose, and any mechanical understanding of causality is simply a misapprehension borne of fuzzy thinking. When a glass falls off a table and breaks, one clear way of understanding the event, as opposed to unclear, passive, ways of understanding it, is by describing it this way: “The floor broke the glass.” The description may at first seem absurd, but it is no more absurd than “I lifted the glass to my lips” – rather than “The glass got lifted to my lips.” The supposed accidentalness of human existence, a bastard child of the evolutionary theory, stems from a similar root, namely, a misunderstanding of the nature of evolutionary causality. An illustration from a different field may help to clarify the matter. Take cooking. The usual understanding of the process of cooking is that the ingredients come into being as a result of interactions between the sun and the soil, and then they are picked up and used as food. Let us look at the matter differently. The sun and the soil give plants what these require. Plants use what they are given to improve themselves and to ripen into tasty and nutritious produce; hence, they give of themselves to animals. Animals use what they are given by plants to nourish themselves, and to grow and mature, hopefully, into good friends of the earth. In the case of human beings, then, the intention would be to give rise to a being that is capable of a relatively full appreciation of the whole process.

13 January 1985

The Essences of Childhood

Children take their lives and the world more seriously than adults do; a child accepts every facet of life as intrinsically meaningful. He/she does not require a superstructure of laws of interaction and meanings of relationships to make sense of the world. This purity and atomism of childhood begins to disappear as more and more laws and extrinsic meanings are taken for granted. Hence, adults become blasé about the world, while moving away from essences. As an illustration, the essence of goodness and evil are directly accessible to a child; to an adult, however, goodness and evil are vague, abstract, and intangible unknowns that have nothing to do with the “concrete reality" of day-to-day life. Adults, therefore, play the game of life, though without being truly serious about it; children, on the other hand, play their games in total awareness of their meanings, and in earnest seriousness. Children know the True, the Good, and the Beautiful in the latter three’s actual essence, and require no concepts to “visualize” them; adults need the concepts to categorize and visualize those essences, as they are no longer able to directly perceive them. Children are not taught the essences; rather, they are made to forget them. Does one begin to get old when one has completely forgotten the essences?

12 January 1985

From showing-off to showing-with

At some point in life, not necessarily the same point for everyone, childish showing-off turns into adult sharing. In children, showing off may be a means of trying to overcome a sense of weakness or virtual non-existence; this will become clearer if we perhaps extend the meaning of “child” to include all supposedly immature persons; it is a known fact among a certain elite that the search for a physically attractive mate is for reasons of vanity, rather than individual need or want. The latter point can be substantiated by a desert-island illustration: in such a situation, basic sexual compatibility is sufficient, and no frills are necessary – or even meaningful. Showing-off, then, is for a “child” a means of affirming some meaningfulness for her existence as opposed to the existence of others. As the basic existence of the person gradually become established, however, the need for antagonistic existence diminishes; there grows, in its place, the need for filling out qualitative gaps in that existence. In other words, the person is more or less aware of his own weaknesses at this point, weaknesses that he has to live with, and which he cannot overcome by acquiring new toys to show off. At this point, the person needs simultaneously to show her own weaknesses and to overcome them; she needs to show her weaknesses, because that is the only way she can be what she really is – in other words, showing one’s weaknesses becomes a means to confirm one’s own existence, as opposed to the earlier state, where showing weakness was suppressed at all cost. Mere unveiling of weaknesses, however, leaves a meaningless and empty blank. Hence, the weaknesses need to be overcome as they are being unveiled. This can be done by mutual collaboration between two persons; as the first person shows off, for instance, her knowledge of geography or his new car, the second person moves in, and, by showing interest or enthusiasm, brings meaning into the situation. Speaking more explicitly, the first person, by showing off her knowledge or his possessions, communicates his/her need for approval. Therefore, showing off, far from creating interpersonal distance and antagonism, as it did in “childhood,” become a means of sharing oneself with others. An established and mature personality no longer means to say, “I have a lot of knowledge, money, or taste”; rather, such a person wishes to convey his/her qualitative weaknesses, and to seek help in alleviating them.

11 January 1985

The one in all

Why should I try to be considerate and warm towards the bank teller or the supermarket cashier? After all, she is only a stranger who I will never get to know. Nevertheless, isn't she just like me and all the people I do know? Wouldn't I like to have been friendly towards the people I now know, when I did not yet know them? Aren't people, therefore, deserving of consideration and warmth, irrespective of whether I happened to know them or not? After all, everyone is someone's friend or acquaintance. Thus, perhaps, the mystic's vision of "the one in all" -- or, as some of them would say, the vision of the friend in all; through such a vision, the artificial duality of friend and foe, and hence that of I and he, dissolves into a unified vision of all humanity, and perhaps later into a universal vision embracing own life, and eventually the entire cosmos; the latter may perhaps be accomplished by thinking of the cosmos as a part of what I am, rather than an "it".

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