Re: virus: Belief and Knowledge (was: The truth about faith)

Tim Rhodes (
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 14:22:16 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 2 Jul 1997, John ''I Take Large Steps'' Williams wrote:

> David said:
> >Definitions are absolutely essential to communication
> >and (as abstractions) understanding.
> I have to agree with you on this, whole-heartedly. People think things are
> "just semantics." But semantics are the only way that we can relate to each
> other.[1]

But we need to have a vocabulary that is suited to our needs. Does the
vocabulary of logic and reason even offer useful terms for the discussion
of the "heart" or "spirit"? David said:

> >No, it is a mistake to think that logic can only be
> >applied to things that are logical.

When I went to see the Gyoto (sp?) Monks last time the program notes
started with something to this effect:
"When a culture sets itself to a task it can accomplish amazing
things. Western culture undertook the task of understanding the natural
world through science and it has since harnessed the power of the sun and
put a man on the moon. A thousand years ago the Tibetan culture set
itself to the equally difficult task of understanding and mastering the
non-physical world. With similarly impressive results."

If logic was the right tool for understanding the emotional dynamics of
human nature why does the West struggle so with questions of spirituality
(we can't even get past definitions, how advanced would you say a cultures
physics was if the best they could do was argue over what "acceleration"
meant?) and lack we a vocabulary for even addressing these problems? If
the model of logic (a *map* not a terrain) is so well suited to this
discussion why didn't Zen develop in Greece or Rome?

-Prof. Tim