Ram Eshwar Kaundinya ’19
This is an exercise in reception. There is a fundamental they say — a truth, holy spirit, Allah, Brahman, Tao, Great Spirit. Well there is and there isn’t. Let me point something out in these last 3 sentences — each one included the phrase there is. Every sentence is an assertion — there is (there it is again) no getting away from this.
Every sentence is an assertion
It then seems we are forever entrapped in the so called Socratic Method: make a fundamental assertion, draw steps from this assertion, lead the audience to your conclusion. The only way to disprove the Socratic Method is to use the Socratic Method. But if you are using the same tool to disprove itself, is that not simply a justification of that very tool? So you see, it seems we are forever trapped. But an assertion is so only so far as there is a receiver, and there is a receiver only so long as there is someone who believes structure can be superimposed on the fundamentally unstructured. There is a famous Zen Koan, “If you blot out sense and sound, what do you hear?” This I argue contains the answer to the “you” underneath the Socratic Method. तत्त्वमसि — that art thou — you are that — you’re it.
तत्त्वमसि — that art thou, you are that, you’re it
Bruce Lee said, “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”. Who is to say the man is a fool, who is to say they are wise? Certainly not the men themselves because the moment they’ve made the assertion, they’ve become something else. Then nobody learns what they think they learnt because the wise man believes he is wise and learns a fool’s answer while the fool believes he is a fool and so learns a wise one. You see then that an assertion carries no truth. It relies on a fundamental illusion, a maya.
Bruce Lee said, “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”
This brings me to the point of structure. We focus on assertions because it brings structure to our existence. If all sentences are assertions, and all sentences are a structure, then all structures are assertions. And once further, if all assertions are an illusion, then structure itself is an illusion.
My goal is then to say this: “Don’t think, feel. It is like a finger pointing its way to the moon, don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory” ~ Bruce Lee. I do not wish to structure this writing as much as I know I inevitably have in some ways. I wish to simply feel and have that feeling point its way to something greater. My goal therefore is to bring all of us to question our need to say I am this and bring ourselves to say I am that, तत्त्वमसि. The moment we let go of structure is the moment that we finally are.
Last night I saw a performance of Birdman Live featuring the drummer Antonio Sanchez. The music of the movie focuses on just the feeling — so much so that when it was being written, Sanchez worked with director Alejandro González Iñárritu, to compose an improvised score on the spotsimply to when Iñárritu was imagining a scene. And when the next scene came, Iñárritu raised his hand with closed eyes and Sanchez changed his music. The raw feeling this image evokes is the release of assertion and structure, and the surrender to feeling of which I speak today. “You must possess the pliable flexibility to change with change” ~ Bruce Lee. And with that I raise my hand, change the music, and let the next scene begin.