15 February 2016

Postcard 50

A writer who doesn't trust language is a like a priest who hates God, a Bodhisattva who denies free will, a groom who believes in the sanctity of nothing, a lawyer who knows there is no legal justice.... Let me tell you about the vanity of dolphins. Dolphins love mirrors. It is true. Give a dolphin a mirror and they will return to it again and again. Are they bored? No, there are plenty of other dolphins to play with. These creatures, to whom hearing and touch are certainly more central than vision, are enamored of their own visual selves. They see themselves and think something along the lines of "that's me!" I wonder if they think that when they vocalize, and I suspect not. Sound projects out and shares the (perceived) instancy of thought. Who could deny that dolphins have a hedonistic joy? I recall the Douglas Adams quote (look it up). My point is that there seems to be a binding between language and self. The words are for identifying between what is and what is not. Say I call a thing a 'tree'. There are many things that are trees, but I most clearly have eliminated what is not a 'tree', so that you know that at least I ma not talking about those things. Now say it out loud: I, Me, My, Mine. You have established a 'you', but only in regard to what you are not. Not the table, not air, not they or them, not bird. Its good to do because I could describe those things so they are indistinguishable from you. A collection of star-furnaced matter, an organized bunch of carbon, a seemingly choice-given being, a person. But you know there is a you that is not those things exactly. What is it then? And where does it come from? Where is it now? As we grow aware and begin speaking, we become better at separating things. And as we grow older and more sophisticated, we continue and our self-seeking identities become more defined. Brittle sculptures. I wonder if, when we die, it collapses and we realize and experience: we are like everything else

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