I love Alan Watts. This transcript is worth reading and the video is worth watching. One thing he mentions, and my deciding factor for making this my daily share, is how language (at the very least) points to our social world view. “Nature is wiggly” he says, but humans “think we understand things when we have translated into terms of straight lines and squares”. This reminded me of a book I read for my Senior Capstone class “Metaphores We Live By” (George Lackoff and Mark Johnson) which dives rather deeply into this concept. We don’t spend much time thinking about how we think; we just go through the day. But if we just take a few moments and listen to the words we use, we become aware of how our world view may not agree with how we want to feel.
We like to quantify and qualify and categorize and label everything. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative thing to do, but when our world view is strictly defined… there is little space for insight. It is beneficial to take a break from definition to simply experience phenomena for what it is (without making any semantic decisions about what it is… that is, without putting it into words). I watch the patterns of water flowing in the creek in my back yard. When my educated mind is active, I’m curious about how those patterns are caused; temperature, stream and depth (among others) are some factors that dictate how the water flows. But when my creative mind is engaged… the water just flows chaotically and from it a simple beauty emerges worthy of my gratitude. What I mean is that I can witness nature sustaining itself at any moment… and then realize that I am amongst it… a part of it. Then my life has a little perspective. I can see the chaos of flow in my life is how my life sustains itself. This is communion. I don’t have to describe, I just have to be.
p.s. I realize that this whole post is something akin to an Infernal Irony, but I wanted to share it anyway, so take it with a grain of salt.