In the 7/8-2001 issue, page 1, you wrote: “Now most people who feel that way – and there are many – would join a political, religious, military, or social movement… My trouble is that I don’t believe in politics, religion, the military, or social action.”
First of all, as stated in the article’s previous paragraph, I was also blessed with “the heart of an activist and the mind of a cynic.” Of the many oxymoronical aspects of my character, that is one of the most distressing. I have forever struggled with finding an outlet for my restlessness, and have altered severely between trying existing movements and throwing up my hands in disgust and despair more times than I have done laundry. I have recently realized that this is because I, too, do not believe in conventional forms of activism and action. (I do not, in fact, believe in conventional forms of almost anything.)
Also like you, I have discovered the only sane way for me to be active – and that is through the promotion of goodness and inclusivity, through community, civic commitment, creativity and personal expression, and Zen Buddhism. I think I might elaborate on that at some point, but this letter is already getting a bit long with my random blatherings, so perhaps the next time around, eh?
3/4-2002, page 8: “Being truly wise isn’t a matter of possessing lots of factual information…. Wisdom comes from seeing the truth and the meaning behind factual information…”
I have always believed this and have often found so-called high intellectuals to be rather narrow-minded and hypocritical.
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about the vast number of realities, or other people’s perspective on reality, there are – indeed, a different reality for every person who has ever lived. I came to the conclusion that to reach one’s potential as an intellectual and particularly as a human being, one needs to not only realize just how many perspectives there are, but to personally experience as many as one can, and to recognize the relationships between them.
The entire Spiritual Creativity (1/2-2002) issue calls to mind another theory of mine regarding comfort vs. freedom, another of which I will withhold for your tired eyes’ sake!
Okay, that’s good for now, with the response to “Inspirit”s. And now, the response to your letter…
“…No problem can withstand sustained thinking.”In response to that, I am going to have to bring up Buddha’s theory that all human suffering is based on human thought. Of course, with my writer’s pen and philosopher’s mind, I am not one to speak of such things, but I can certainly see the truth in such a statement, based on personal experience. Until I seriously started practicing and living Zen (which I still do not do entirely, I’m sorry to say), my thoughts made me utterly miserable. Now, though still prone to such emotions, I am able to remain objective to even my own thoughts, to not have any prolonged attachments to them and to often see them as almost an outsider. Now, all my philosophical thoughts (both input and output) I view in much the same way: as a tool for understanding, as opposed to a solution, or a complete truth, or anything more than that.