I posted this on the forum on Zenguide.com.
Copied from here…http://www.edge.org/q2010/q10_1.html#brockman Hall […] told a story about a group of prehistoric cavemen having a conversation.
“Guess what?” the first man said. “We’re talking.” Silence. The others looked at him with suspicion.
“What’s ‘talking’?” a second man asked.
“It’s what we’re all doing, right now. We’re talking!”
“You’re crazy,” the third man said. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“I’m not crazy,” the first man said. “You’re crazy. We’re talking.”
Talking, undoubtedly, was considered innate and natural until the first man rendered it visible by exclaiming, “We’re talking.”
Mr. Chon Tri is the mediator of the forum. He asked this question:
if mr. sirwolf’s parents did not gave him a name.
would he exist or would he not exist?
This was my response.
It’s a fair question. Of course, my parents did not name sirwolf.
The “me” I am here is not the same “me” that people in “real life” know (by the name my parents gave me). It is also true that the me people know at work is not the same me that people know at home.
So the real question here is “If Sirwolf had not named SirWolf, would he exist?” The answer, of course, is no.
We seem easily distracted here, but I didn’t post this so much to discuss personal names as I did to discuss nouns.
I posted this because of the “Aha” moment it gave me. When we name something, we define it, give it rules and structure. We give it nature.
If I call something a mirror, I use it to see reflections. If I called it drug paraphernalia, I would put lines of cocaine on it. I could break it, and call it a knife.
If I have a copier and remove a gear I now have a gear and a copier. If I remove more parts I have gears, solenoids, rollers and, at some point, a not-working copier. At what point do I just have a box of parts?
I’ve gone down this little thought path because of a couple of things. Zenner’s post on the tea cup was part of it. But in trying to understand the nature of things I realize that naming things limits, or at least hides their nature.
This is not always bad, we have to name things in order to communicate. Could we tell someone about meditating without naming breathing? Or counting?
On the other hand, instead of calling it a mirror, I could describe it. A relatively smooth, relatively hard usually thin reflective object. I could even break out Mohs scale and tell you how hard it is. (5.5, if it is made of glass, according to Wikipedia.)
But once I’ve done that, haven’t I still defined it? And I still haven’t really defined it. There are chemical properties, whatever substrate is used to provide the reflection, etc… We haven’t even talked about using metal as a mirror. It’s easier just to call it a mirror. And in my research I learned that if an object’s used to reflect sound it’s also called a mirror!
This all may or may not be Zen. We would have to define Zen first. Right now, it is how I am breaking down my thought process, understanding what I have gotten right and wrong, and improving it. I choose to share it with you. Maybe someday I’ll be good enough to understand Zen.
Something to think about…