Definition

**Preface…I’m taking a Tao of Healing class with a professor who is easily already the most influential educator I’ve ever had.  I am required to submit a weekly reflection on my class, but so many people in my life have heard me talk about this man and his class that rather than retell them all my thoughts and lessons, its easier to document them here.  Not only that, but here they will stay for me as well.**

This notion of paradoxes has been marinating within me since this past Monday when I watched Inception per my boyfriend’s request.  That and the explanation of how subconscious projections “attack” the dream hijacker.  Interestingly enough, marinating is a accurate word because often that’s just how I work.  I mull things over and my mind is something like a crock-pot.  I think very slowly, and when it makes sense, in more ways than one, I get it.  That’s notable because my professor asked me tonight how the class was going for me.  I told him that I found myself being more quiet in this class than any of my other classes, and I pinpointed it after we spoke as being due to my marinating.  So many foreign ideas are being introduced to me, and I’m literally cooking them over in my head.  I cannot speak quickly enough before some new idea has been introduced by a classmate, and then I look for ways to make them all fuse.  Tonight, in realizing all of this I decided that perhaps my logic isn’t logic at all; it is highly sensory.  Most ideas are not radical enough to be immediately rejected or “attacked” so I mull, but I do not ingest all of them as truths.  It apparently takes a bit longer to comprehend when you use more than just your mind.

Two things…one was the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and its explanation that if you know the velocity then you cannot also know the position.  I ingested this as if you know the how you cannot also know the where of a thing.  In relation to people, I took it as past and present.  Velocity is the rate and direction of change…My grandmother used to warn, “you will end up where you’re going!”  That’s how I see velocity.  Then there’s position, where I am, not apart of the great continuum that is my life but simply my location.  Of course…then there is the other thing, defining and classifying.  As soon I note someone as “there” they have moved on to the next place.  We are always becoming; dynamic.  Can any one word, or even action ever encompass the whole of a thing?  To me, I think our words and the words we choose to describe things say more about us than the thing.  Our subjectivity…our personal definitions, they taint everything.  It made me wonder do we ever really hear what other people say?  We hear it through the filter of our experiences, we place meaning on their words based on what those words’ value are in our being.  “Acquire it, and give it up,” says Dr. Kim.  Perhaps this is why no matter how educated, or well-versed a person is, their nonverbal communication still accounts for the majority of their expression.  The unknown, the unnamed, the undefinable, the illogic.

And what about America?  It seems that we are actively dead.  Just as many powerful empires have grown weak from defending (and even ministering) broken dogma, it seems that Americans not only refuse to change or evolve, we actively work not to.  In the Dr. Martin Luther King commemoration service Monday, his son said, “We are so inundated with propaganda that either we don’t see whats really going on, or we don’t want to see whats going on.”  Whether it is ignorance or negligence the fact remains that we place more value on being entertained than we do on being enlightened.  I don’t even mean that in the spiritual sense.  When on any given sunday hundreds of thousands willingly pay $80 per ticket for a sporting event to watch millionaires play a game, but have public schools cannot afford art, music, theater classes and have to fire teachers and overcrowd classrooms, there is a problem.  American education is failing because we do not value education, we value the things that education used to afford, the things that now popularity and hollow celebrity more readily supply.  Of course this worship of things also grows from definition, we have made celebrity sacred because something in our definition of celebrity is sacred to us.  As with all things, we see them not as they are but as we are, words are no different, neither are people, or even societies.

Lastly, each of the presidents that introduced new monetary systems to the American public were either assassinated, or survived assassination attempts.   Their paradoxes were too radical for the understanding of the mind that was that American society…so they were attacked.  Like a white blood cell protecting the body from infection, the foreigner had to go.  Socrates, Lao Tzu, and Jesus Christ…all introducing radical ideals, each dying a death.  Tzu suggests that “That which has no name is the mother of Heaven and Earth [but] that which is unnamed is the mother of all things.”  Possibility is infinite.  Ironically, even as I type that sentence I have limited it to my own understanding of possibility.  So these deaths…”created a vacuum,” and as Dr. Kim said it, the entire class made sense to me.  Of course, I can’t quite explain something that “clicks” or the implications of an “A-ha” moment, and now I fear that even in attempting I am cheapening the moment.  In Genesis, Adam and Eve were not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.  Why? Precisely the point!  We were not meant to know.  The vacuum is one that is so full in expanse in each respective ideological contribution, and now not having the root of the movement…we can never really KNOW the purpose or the rationale or any of the infinite questions we have about them.  We’re not supposed to.  It is not to be known because if it is known then it is defined, and if it is defined then it is limited.  In the vacuum, there is no limit.  Is this not the proximal idea behind the Constitution? To be explicit enough to govern, but ambiguous enough to be a living document of the law subject to the definition of the people.  The lack of definition holds true power.  Shapelessness, uselessness, and yielding…what a paradox that power is in impotence.

 

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One thought on “Definition

  1. It’s funny that you post this…just this morning my Constitutional Law professor was talking about a Zen approach to language. Essentially, the only way to know the answer to a question, is not to ask the question b/c the words you choose in asking it vastly limit where the result of the inquiry can go. The question he left us to ponder was, does the Constitution define the Supreme Court? Or does the Supreme Court define the Constitution? The answer is a paradox, yes and not yes. My prof got a philosophy degree before law school so it makes for some interesting class discussions.

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