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

Eric Boyd (
Fri, 04 Jul 1997 00:57:00 -0500

Tim Rhodes wrote:
> 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. One of the first things I came across in "The Way of Zen" was a
talk about how our langage was the biggest barrier to progress. First,
it was *founded* on the subject/object duality (now here is a really
interesting subject/object duality: God/Universe. Funny how the things
our language is based on carry over into the things we think about,
eh?). English teachers say every sentence must have a "noun" and a
"verb" to *even* *be* a sentence. And then there is the entire E-Prime
discussion about "essences" that misleads us. And then, lastly, Alan
Watt was forced to use *their* words for many things, simply becuase our
language does not have the vocabularly. He found substitutes for some
of them, mostly by saying "consider a melange of <x>, <y> and <z> and
then add <this> and that's fairly close to the meaning. But other times
he said: there is no word for this. Here's their's.

> 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."

One of the things that has always seemed so weird about our culture is
that the cliche "old and wise" simply doesn't hold. None of the "old"
people I've met seemed no wiser to me. Just more foolish, for having
lived their entire lives as subjects to the comsumer culture. Sure, we
know the outside world, but the internal one is the truly great western

Sometime, I will have to learn about the Tibetan culture.

> 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?

This makes me think again of all the "self-help" books out there. We
are so enamoured of our learning that we think it possible to learn
"objectively" about *ourselves* as well. Folly.

Looking at it, I think that once again Arisotle was to blame. Go read
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintance" by Robert Persig to see why.

And then Christianity compounded the error again by bringing us "the
Truth"... it is that illusion of objective truth, more than any other,
that has prevented us from really understanding ourselves. Science and
Christianity *fight*, not becuase they are different, but rather becuase
they are the *same*. Both claim the Truth.

And that's also why it is said "Zen is not about religion... Zen *is*
religion" We, here in the West, don't really have any spiritual
platform to stand upon. Instead, what we have is a religion that says
"we are all sinners", which makes us stand on guard *against* ourselves,
so that rather than trying to open ourselves up and learn and thus
become wise, we close the doors on our hearts. Love your father, yes,
but never trust yourself. My question is this: if we cannot trust
outselves and our emotions to be "good" inherently, how can we ever be
free to love unconditionally, as God commands? The answer, of course, is
that we cannot. Christianity is a poorly designed, damaging religion
which thwarts *itself*. What surprises me most is that it's lived as
long as it has!

Such is the Crusade I bring to bear against Christianity.