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Lao Tzu, Herakleitos, Henri Barbusse, truth, learning, meaning, and self-deception

excerpted from THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves, by Jack Haas

 

                                        

         

“Exterminate learning and there will no longer be worries.”

Lao Tzu

 

 

The pursuit of facts is purely a fainthearted way to live upon this earth; ‘thought’ is a form of immature trembling, and ‘knowledge’ is simply our current catharsis for not being able to understand what is not understandable.

 “Truth?”, demanded Henri Barbusse, “What do they mean by it?”

Ah yes, what do they ‘mean’? What does ‘meaning’ actually mean? When we truly look into this word, we find that the root of ‘meaning’ is ‘mean’ (this is a crucially important point in order to recognize one of our culture's more specious self-deceptions); the word 'meaning', which we have adopted as if synonymous with ‘purpose’, or ‘the definition of’, and which we have proceeded to use as a noun (i.e. ‘to have meaning’, or ‘to find meaning’), is, instead, actually a verb which ‘means’ (if I may employ that misnomer now): ‘to make mean’. And what is it to make ‘mean’? It is to make something vulgar, prosaic, or mediocre- that is what we really get out of meaning. Meaning is meanness.

 

 

“To seek for meaning is to cut open the ball

in search of its bounce.”

Roger Lancelyn Green

 

 

Knowledge is a poor consolation, a worshipped failure, for it has not succeeded in emancipating us.

To explain a phenomenon is to distort it; knowledge is an epistemological catastrophe, for when we invest meaning into something that does not possess it inherently, we corrupt it to our own purposes. Which is to say- we ‘know’ it improperly, rather than unknowing it properly. But when finally we come to the necessary acceptance that we do ‘not-know’ we then merge easily into, and belong intimately with, the greater part of life, for that is when we no longer simply ‘know’ a fragment of the whole, but instead we ‘unknow’ all of it. And since we have bound ourselves with ideas and theories, stunting the evolution of the untethered mind, we must now molt conceptually, or we shall remain dwarfed by the cramping encumbrance of outgrown meanings.

“Knowledge is not intelligence”, admonished Herakleitos. And LaoTzu stated: “The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise.”

A person ‘knows’, in fact, only because they are terrified of ‘not knowing’. Knowledge must be recognized as ‘insecure ignorance’, which is why we prefer to harbor a thousand misconceptions rather than have no conceptions at all- because it is much easier to live with lies than to live without truths.

It is because of this, because we are more desperate to be sure than to be right, that our truths have become a pitiful compromise between the impossible admittance that we do not know, and the impossibility that we know.

Cioran concluded: “...this mind has squandered itself in what it has named and circumscribed.”

            ‘Interpretation’, then, is not- as our thought-based culture would have us believe- the absence of not-knowing, it is actually the hallmark of not‑knowing; interpretation is the shuddering of the enigmaphobic; ‘knowledge’ is the shibboleth of pusillanimity.

 

excerpted from:

 

way of wonder, sacred geometry, sri yantra

 

 

THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves

by Jack Haas

author Jack Haas, Canadian, American writer, artist, photographer

 

 

 

      

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Mystical books, visionary art, and fine art photography by Jack Haas

 

 

 

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