Archive for July 2013

Stuffs that Take Life out of Relationship

A recipe for divorce is criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. For over 40 years the psychologist Professor John Gottman has been analyzing relationships, both good and bad. He has followed couples across decades in many psychological studies to see what kinds of behaviors predict whether they would stay together in the long-term or were soon destined for the divorce courts. Amongst the factors he identified, four have stood out, time and time again. When Gottman sees a couple’s communication overrun with these, the chances are they will divorce in an average of around six years from their marriage.

Of course we all complain to each other; married couples more than most, but it is a particular type of corrosive criticism that Gottman identified as being so destructive. This is when one criticizes the other’s core being, their personality. For example, “You’re late because you don’t care about me." We all make mistakes, but notice that here it is all about how those mistakes are interpreted. At their worst, criticisms have the implication that the other person is bad or wrong at some deeper level. Repeated criticisms that strike at the heart of the other person’s being signal the end of the relationship will be sooner rather than later. Alternatively, voice the concern and make a request, for example, "I am bored, let us have a game of cards." Not, "You are ignoring me and you are selfish"

When someone has contempt for their partner, psychologists found that this was the single greatest predictor of separation. Contempt can involve sarcasm, name-calling, mimicking and eye-rolling. Whatever form it takes, contempt makes the other person feel worthless. Contempt is also bad for your health, as psychologists have found that couples who were contemptuous of each other suffered from more infectious diseases like colds and flu. Alternatively, build respect by appreciating the positive, for example, "Love your taste in music!" Not, "The sound of your laughter makes me want to vomit."

A person is too defensive when they are always trying to make excuses for their failures or slip ups. People do this automatically from time-to-time, but when it becomes a persistent theme in a relationship, this can signal the end. It is even a worse signal when partners are also trying to score points off the other on top of being defensive. After all, people who live together are supposed to be in partnership, supporting each other. Life is difficult enough without being attacked from within as well as from without. Alternatively, take your share of the blame and suggest a solution, for example, "I guess I should have put it on my list, okay let us do it now." Not, “No, I didn’t pay the gas bill because you forgot to remind me."

Stonewalling is when a person metaphorically raises the drawbridge and cuts off communication. There are no nods of encouragement to their partner when they speak, no attempt to empathize and no effort to respond or connect. It is like talking to a brick wall. Stonewalling can often be a result of a prolonged period of criticism, contempt and defensiveness. It may feel like the only response to a worsening situation, but lack of communication will not solve the problems at the heart of the relationship. Alternatively, speak, move, respond, blink, move a muscle, anything! Not, here is my impression of a brick wall.


Oneness sounds complicated at first, but it is simple and will change your life forever. Oneness is more than a concept. It is an experience and a way of living. In every culture throughout time there have been saints, mystics, sages, shamans and prophets who have come to the conclusion that all things in this world are deeply interconnected and ultimately are only diverse expressions of the one original source energy. This is the essential experience and conviction of most of the worlds’ religious founding leaders. They call the oneness of life different things like God, Allah, Hashem, The Great Mystery, but the idea of oneness is universal. Oneness means we are each united with all of life.

Oneness is not just a spiritual or religious idea. It is now a clear scientific principle. Einstein died trying to prove the unified field theory, a belief that all life and matter are united by an underlying energy or consciousness. The great quantum physicists David Bohm, Arthur Eddington, Max Planck and many others were convinced that at the very deepest and smallest level of all things was energy. Deep within each cell, each molecule, each atom and nucleus, breathes an energy so subtle and yet so essential it could be called spirit.

The environmentalists and ecologists are convinced of oneness. The pollution in one part of the world impacts the climate, air and water in another. The chemicals the smallest animals eat from our waste and farming practices travel up the food chain until large doses of those chemicals appear in our daily diet. Changes in the habitat or population of any one creature send a ripple effect through the world.

Oneness is the law of nature. What we do to others, we do to ourselves. Imagine what if the force that preceded all life was like an ocean? In time ice formed and was floating on the surface. The ice is unlike the ocean. It floats on the ocean, and it doesn’t even look like the ocean. But in time, the conditions change, and the ice melts back into the ocean. Was it ever really different? Separate?

Regardless of whether we believe in the Garden of Eden or the Big Bang, something came before it all, a vast, endless, infinite, eternal something. That same source-force is here right now. It gave rise to all things, and it is inside you, around you and will exist long after we are all gone, which means we are all related through this origin and oneness.

If you understand this, you would not need to be told to be kind, you would not need to be told to recycle or forgive or love or respect yourself. You would not worry about who wins and you would be sure that no one loses. You would love others as yourself, and you would see the spark of the divine in all things. You would know that every experience is a lesson, a chance to grow towards understanding oneness.

Dancing Solo In Sunlight Delight

Posted July 29, 2013 by dranilj1 in Photography

Tagged with

Basic Reality of Life

Hindu mythology elaborates the theme of the divine play on a fabulous scale, embracing not only colossal concepts of time and space, but also the widest extremes of pleasure and pain, virtue and depravity. The inmost Self of saint and sage is no less the veiled Godhead than the inmost Self of the debauchee, the coward, the lunatic, and the very demons. The opposites of light and darkness, good and evil, pleasure and pain, are the essential elements of the game. For although the Godhead is identified with Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss, the dark side of life has its integral part in the game just as every drama must have its villain, to disrupt the status quo, and as the cards must be shuffled, thrown into chaos, in order that there may be a significant development of the play. For Hindu thought there is no Problem of Evil. The conventional, relative world is necessarily a world of opposites. Light is inconceivable apart from darkness; order is meaningless without disorder; and, likewise, up without down, sound without silence, pleasure without pain. For anyone who holds that “God made the world,” the question, why did He permit the existence in it of any evil, or of that Evil One in whom all evil is personified, is altogether meaningless; one might as well enquire why He did not make a world without dimensions or one without temporal succession. According to the myth, the divine play goes on through endless cycles of time, through periods of manifestation and withdrawal of the worlds measured in units being a span of 4,320,000,000 years. From the human standpoint, such a conception presents a terrifying monotony, since it goes on aimlessly for ever and ever. But from the divine standpoint, it has all the fascination of the repetitious games of children, which go on and on because time has been forgotten and has reduced itself to a single wondrous instant. The foregoing myth is not the expression of a formal philosophy, but of an experience or state of consciousness which is called liberation.

On the whole, it is safer to say that Indian philosophy is primarily this experience. It is only quite secondarily a system of ideas which attempt to translate the experience into conventional language. At root, then, the philosophy becomes intelligible only by sharing the experience, which consists of the same type of nonconventional knowledge found in Taoism. It is also termed Self-knowledge or Self-awakening since it may be considered as the discovery of who or what I am, when I am no longer identified with any role or conventional definition of the person. Indian philosophy does not describe the content of this discovery except in mythological terms, using the phrase “I am Brahman” or “That art thou” to suggest that Self-knowledge is a realization of one’s original identity with God. But this does not imply what “claiming to be God” means in a Hebrew-Christian context, where mythical language is ordinarily confused with factual language so that there is no clear distinction between God as described in the terms of conventional thought and God as he is in reality. A Hindu does not say “I am Brahman” with the implication that he is personally in charge of the whole universe and informed as to every detail of its operation. On one hand, he is not speaking of identity with God at the level of his superficial personality. On the other, his “God” is not in charge of the universe in a “personal” way. He does not know and act in the manner of a person since he does not know the universe in terms of conventional facts nor act upon it by means of deliberation, effort, and will. It may be of significance that the word “Brahman” is from the root brih-, “to grow,” since his creative activity, like that of the Tao, is with the spontaneity proper to growth as distinct from the deliberation proper to making.

Furthermore, though Brahman is said to “know” himself, this knowing is not a matter of information; knowledge such as one has of objects distinct from a subject. For He is the Knower, and the Knower can know other things, but cannot make Himself the object of His own knowledge, in the same way that fire can burn other things, but cannot burn itself. To the Western mind, the puzzle of Indian philosophy is that it has so much to say about what the liberation experience is not, and little, or nothing, to say about what it is. This is naturally bewildering, for if the experience is really without content, or if it is so lacking in relation to the things which we consider important, how is one to explain the immense esteem which it holds in the Indian scheme of life? Even at the conventional level, it is surely easy to see that knowing what is not so is often quite as important as knowing what is! Even when medicine can suggest no effective remedy for the common cold, there is some advantage in knowing the uselessness of certain popular nostrums.

Furthermore, the function of negative knowledge is not unlike the uses of space–the empty page upon which words can be written, the empty jar into which liquid can be poured, the empty window through which light can be admitted, and the empty pipe through which water can flow. Obviously, the value of emptiness lies in the movements it permits or in the substance which it mediates and contains. But the emptiness must come first. This is why Indian philosophy concentrates on negation, on liberating the mind from concepts of Truth. It proposes no idea, no description, of what is to fill the mind’s void because the idea would exclude the fact–somewhat as a picture of the sun on the windowpane would shut out the true sun’s light. Whereas the Hebrews would not permit an image of God in wood or stone, the Hindus will not permit an image of thought–unless it is so obviously mythological as not to be mistaken for the reality. Therefore, the practical discipline of the way of liberation is a progressive disentanglement of one’s Self from all identification. It is to realize that I am not this body, these sensations, these feelings, these thoughts, this consciousness.

The basic reality of my life is not any conceivable object. Ultimately, it is not even to be identified with any idea, as of God or atman. It is that which is not conscious of the subjective nor of the objective, nor of both; which is neither simple consciousness, nor undifferentiated sentience, nor mere darkness. It is unseen, without relations, incomprehensible, not provable by reasoning, and indescribable–the essence of Self-consciousness, the ending of illusion.

Multidimensional Consciousness

Dimensions are a means of organizing different planes of existence according to their vibratory rate. Each dimension has certain sets of laws and principles that are specific to the frequency of that dimension. Consciousness represents awareness. The inhabitants of each dimension function clearly, easily, and with a minimum of resistance within that plane because their consciousness vibrates in resonance with the frequency of that dimension. Multidimensional consciousness is the ability to be conscious of more than one dimension. To be multidimensional in our consciousness, we must remember that we have within us the potential to expand our perceptual awareness to the dimensions above and below our physical plane.

Unconscious means unaware of and unable to attend to internal and or external stimuli within the inhabitants’ own dimension or within another dimension. Third dimensional humans are largely unaware of their first dimensional, second dimensional, and fourth dimensional selves. The human unconscious is best accessed through physical body messages, introspection, dreams, and meditation.

Conscious means aware of and able to attend to stimuli within the inhabitants’ own dimension. The third dimensional self is conscious of what can be perceived by the five physical senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

Superconscious is a higher order of consciousness of the fifth dimension and above in which the inhabitants are able to be aware of and attend stimuli of their own dimension as well as all the lower dimensions. The superconscious is innately multidimensional. The third dimensional self can become "conscious" of the superconscious through meditation, prayer, and by surrendering to the enfoldment of the higher order consciousness.

We must become the change we wish to see. This resonates with who I am, and what I believe. Read it again, and find that feeling I’m talking about. Do you feel that resonance, that inner harmony? It is as if it is speaking directly to your soul, and your soul is acknowledging the truth in those words. But how do we become that change, how do we trigger that positive change we wish to see? It is all about energy, and consciousness. Through meditation, we are actually programming reality with the positive energy and purity of meditation. But there had to be something more, something that would have more of a direct effect, it is a specific feeling that you can incorporate into your meditation. This is more than an ordinary feeling, it is a key.

The sixth sense is actually profound abilities that you can develop. There are misconceptions and myths about the sixth sense. You are either born psychic or you aren’t. Alison Dubois on the TV show Medium has premonitions in the form of dreams. But you weren’t born with any abilities like that, so you will never be psychic. But is that really true? The fact is, everyone was born with sixth sense abilities. The problem is that many of us lost touch with that sensory. It is discouraged by religion, family or teachers. Maybe you just got caught up in life and forgot. But remember, while psychic abilities come easily to some people, for many of us the sixth sense is an elusive, forgotten thing. With a little effort, you can reactivate that sensory and experience psychic abilities yourself. Just like anything else, we all have talents and interests. There are things that come easier to us than other things. If you can acquire one psychic capability you can master others too. It is just a matter of devoting time and effort to practicing new skills.

The misconception of the sixth sense is all about talking to ghosts comes from movies such as The Sixth Sense and TV shows like the Ghost Whisperer. Characters see ghosts in human form and have conversations with them as if they were simply speaking to an invisible friend. But is that really what the sixth sense is all about? First of all, ghosts are … well, ghosts. They don’t have a physical body, vocal chords, and ears. So while the sixth sense can allow you to communicate with ghosts or entities, it is not in the way that is portrayed in movies. This sensory can potentially allow you to talk to ghosts, but the sixth sense is so much more than that. Developing the sixth sense is about developing a new sensory or language. It will allow you to communicate with the Universe.

For many people, the sixth sense and psychic abilities feel like they are just out of reach. But everyone is capable of developing this sensory with a little time and effort. The sixth sense is something that is misunderstood. Many see it simply as intuition and it is as you are first developing your sixth sense. You will find that you have an inner knowing, a sense of direction that you never had before. You might find that time after time you are in the right place at the right time.

Others see the sixth sense as a super-power portrayed in Hollywood movies. Characters will have incredible psychic powers, premonitions and mind control. In fact, the sixth sense includes all of those things. You can develop your intuition and other abilities such as telepathy. But the sixth sense is much more than that. When you learn to turn your sixth sense abilities inward, you will discover that the true power of the sixth sense is that the sixth sense is the missing link to spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

Most schools of thought view the sixth sense and spirituality as two separate and unrelated paths. In fact, in most spiritual and religious organizations, developing the sixth sense is actively discouraged, yet it is the component that allows you to jump into higher states of consciousness. Our five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing, do not allow us to directly perceive God or the Universe. They limit us to this physical dimension. The Universe is energy and in order to perceive this energy, to communicate with it, the sixth sense is needed.

The sixth sense is still a part of your organic body and is as natural as the other five senses. So, while real life may not be like Hollywood, you will still find that developing your sixth sense will lead you to experience some pretty profound abilities and phenomenon. But more importantly, the sixth sense will give you the tools to ‘speak’ the language of energy, the language of the Universe.

As you master this new language, you will bridge the gap to developing multi-dimensional consciousness. The old spiritual masters have all said that ‘Life is an Illusion.’ The sixth sense is what gives you the ability to see past the illusion. It allows you to see the programs that create reality the same way the spiritual masters of the past have done.

The Psychology of Success

The go getter loves ‘The Chase’ first and foremost. Many successful people looking back on their lives never even felt the entrepreneurial zeal arriving. Many times these people are too poor even to imagine that they’ll ever get rich. But once hooked, their desire to achieve is often fanatical. More than half of the entrepreneurs got divorced along the road to success.

Adding to this perspective is the idea that business success also comes from taking more risks than the average person. This perspective was made popular when Harvard Business School’s Alexander Zelaznick said: "To understand the entrepreneur, you first have to understand the psychology of the juvenile delinquent." Entrepreneurs don’t have the normal fear or anxiety mechanisms, seem to act on impulse and act somewhat recklessly. Successful people have a compulsive, unconscious drive to push themselves forward towards success which is both a source of inspiration as well as a potential limitation leading to disaster. Their drives represent an instinctive, impulsive, unconscious, or biologically driven impulse of Sensation Seeking which is very hard to control. It is not specifically linked to either success or failure but is simply a drive to learn, explore and be curious about the world. Sensation Seeking provides the instinctive exploratory drive to push us forward even though these instincts can lead to either functional or dysfunctional learning.

To see business success only from compulsive deficit model of instinctive drive doesn’t provide credit for the conscious and complex goals which produce business success. On its own, the instinctive and exploratory drive of Sensation Seeking is not enough and this is perhaps why so many business failures occur. Conscious factors direct, harness and discipline the unconscious drive of Sensation Seeking to achieve business success and functional learning. The conscious factors in learning and personality usually are learnt from role models, parental socialization, peers, mentors, education, socio-economic opportunities and situational factors. These are related to understanding of business success and are associated with goal setting and self-efficacy that provide the direction, allocation of resources and delay of gratification needed to achieve complex plans. Next, the emotional intelligence that provides rational and independent thinking. Conscientiousness, that makes one responsible and ready for hard work and deep learning that provide knowledge, experience and insight.

Gates and Simplot are two of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. To psychologists, their stories raise fascinating questions. In what ways are the two men, born generations apart and raised in completely different surroundings, alike? More importantly, what makes them different from the great majority of people who never started a business, watched it succeed and become incredibly rich?

After decades of what at first amounted to little more than guesswork, scientists are collecting data they think can answer those questions. Enticing clues indicate that telltale bits of psychology may spur people to start businesses and even help determine who succeeds and who fails. The venture capitalists of the future may use psychological profiles to pick entrepreneurs who are more likely to create winning companies.

The first step psychologists took toward understanding entrepreneurs were based on anecdote, not experiment. Alexander Zelaznick, a professor emeritus of psychology at Harvard Business School, says years of interviewing entrepreneurs led him to the dramatic conclusion that they simply did not feel risk, or weigh consequences, in the same way as other people. Anecdotal evidence creates caricature of the typical entrepreneur: A young man with an appetite for risk and a persuasive personality, a gifted salesman with an independent streak. The evidence that entrepreneurs have a particular personality ‘type’ is mostly unconvincing, however, data collected over the last decade has allowed psychologists to confirm or disprove parts of this picture.

For instance, the notions that entrepreneurs are risk takers. Psychologists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has shown that entrepreneurs are more successful when they are persuasive and have strong social skills, in other words, that being a charismatic salesman is a big help. That would be no surprise to Steve Jobs who famed for being so convincing; he seems to temporarily distort reality.

Here, another problem rears its head. Most studies of entrepreneurs look only at people who have been successful. That is, they pick out people who have already founded businesses. Instead of first finding entrepreneurs and then asking what makes them successful, researchers are left looking at a group of winners, at least relatively speaking.

To make matters worse, researchers often have asked these entrepreneurs to describe themselves at their career’s beginning. This, it turns out, is almost impossible for anyone to do. We all craft stories about our lives that exaggerate some factors while leaving others out. Could Larry Ellison really give an accurate assessment of what was going through his mind when he founded Oracle, even if he wanted to?

Researchers are trying to get around this through a survey called the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics, which started in 1995; 64,622 American households were called at random, and, from this large group, the researchers found 800 entrepreneurs who had not been in business more than three months. They also assembled a representative sample of 400 people to use as a control group. From this data, researchers have already been able to draw some basic conclusions. For instance, entrepreneurs and normal people seem to worry equally about financial autonomy and or a feeling of being motivated in their jobs. Neither a need for financial nor personal independence seems to have caused any of these people to start their own business.

The entrepreneurs did not seem to be devil-may-care risk takers. Only a subtle difference in the way they appreciate risk emerged. The entrepreneurs are worse at coming up with reasons they might fail. Being able to generate more unpleasant possibilities might be making non-entrepreneurs more afraid, but we don’t know that. So far, there is one other big difference between those who go into business for themselves and those who don’t. Entrepreneurs don’t care what other people think about them. They really don’t care much. They’re just happy to go ahead and do what they’re doing.

Statistically speaking, then, Simplot and Gates would seem to have two things in common: They have trouble imagining failure, and they don’t care what you think.

Language and the Reconstruction of Reality

The task of education is to make children to live in a society by persuading them to learn and accept society’s codes and rules and conventions of communication whereby the society holds itself together. There is first the spoken language. The child is taught to accept “tree” and not “dog” as the agreed sign for pointing to the object. We have no difficulty in understanding that the word “tree” is a matter of convention. What is much less obvious is that convention also governs the delineation of the thing to which the word is assigned. The child has to be taught not only what words are to stand for what things, but also the way in which his culture has tacitly agreed to divide things from each other, to mark out the boundaries within our daily experience. The scientific convention decides whether an eel shall be a fish or a snake. Grammatical convention determines what experiences shall be called objects and what shall be called events or actions. How arbitrary such conventions may be can be seen from the question, “What happens to my fist [noun-object] when I open my hand?” The object miraculously vanishes because an action was disguised by a part of speech usually assigned to a thing. In English, the differences between things and actions are clearly, if not always logically, distinguished.

Besides language, the child has to accept many other forms of code. For the necessities of living together require agreement as to codes of law and ethics, of etiquette and art, of weights, measures, and numbers, and, above all, of role. We have difficulty in communicating with each other unless we can identify ourselves in terms of roles–father, teacher, worker, artist, “regular guy,” gentleman, sportsman, and so forth. To the extent that we identify ourselves with these stereotypes and the rules of behavior associated with them, we ourselves feel that we are someone because our fellows have less difficulty in accepting us, that is, in identifying us and feeling that we are “under control.” A meeting of two strangers at a party is always somewhat embarrassing when the host has not identified their roles in introducing them, for neither knows what rules of conversation and action should be observed. Once again, it is easy to see the conventional character of roles. For a man who is a father may also be a doctor and an artist, as well as an employee and a brother. It is obvious that even the sum total of these role labels will be far from supplying an adequate description of the man himself, even though it may place him in certain general classifications. However, the conventions which govern human identity are more subtle and much less obvious than these. We learn, very thoroughly though far less explicitly, to identify ourselves with an equally conventional view of “myself.” For the conventional “self” or “person” is composed mainly of a history consisting of selected memories, and beginning from the moment of parturition. According to convention, I am not simply what I am doing now. I am also what I have done, and my conventionally edited version of my past is made to seem almost more the real “me” than what I am at this moment. For what I am seems so fleeting and intangible but what I was is fixed and final. It is the firm basis for predictions of what I will be in the future, and so it comes about that I am more closely identified with what no longer exists than with what actually is!

It is important to recognize that the memories and past events which make up a man’s historical identity are no more than a selection. From the actual infinitude of events and experiences some have been picked out–abstracted–as significant and this significance has of course been determined by conventional standards. The very nature of conventional knowledge is that it is a system of abstractions. It consists of signs and symbols in which things and events are reduced to their general outlines. The English words “man,” “fish,” “star,” “flower,” “run,” “grow,” all denote classes of objects or events which may be recognized as members of classes of objects or events which may be recognized as members of their class by very simple attributes, abstracted from the total complexity of the things themselves.

Abstraction is thus almost a necessity for communication, since it enables us to represent our experiences with simple and rapidly made “grasps” of the mind. When we say that we can think only of one thing at a time, this is like saying that the Pacific Ocean cannot be swallowed at a gulp. It has to be taken in a cup, and downed bit by bit. Abstractions and conventional signs are like the cup; they reduce experience to units simple enough to be comprehended one at a time. In a similar way, curves are measured by reducing them to a sequence of tiny straight lines, or by thinking of them in terms of the squares which they cross when plotted on graph paper. Other examples of the same process are the newspaper photograph and the transmission of television. In the former, a natural scene is reproduced in terms of light and heavy dots arranged in a screen or grid-like pattern so as to give the general impression of a black-and-white photograph when seen without a magnifying glass. Much as it may look like the original scene, it is only a reconstruction of the scene in terms of dots, somewhat as our conventional words and thoughts are reconstructions of experience in terms of abstract signs. Even more like the thought process, the television camera transmits a natural scene in terms of a linear series of impulses which may be passed along a wire.

Thus communication by conventional signs of this type gives us an abstract, one-at-a-time translation of a universe in which things are happening altogether-at-once–a universe whose concrete reality always escapes perfect description in these abstract terms. The perfect description of a small particle of dust by these means would take everlasting time, since one would have to account for every point in its volume.

The linear, one-at-a-time character of speech and thought is particularly noticeable in all languages using alphabets, representing experience in long strings of letters. It is not easy to say why we must speak with others and think with ourselves by this one-at-a-time method. Life itself does not proceed in this cumbersome, linear fashion, and our own organisms proceed in this cumbersome, linear fashion, and our own organisms could hardly live for a moment if they had to control themselves by taking thought of every breath, every beat of the heart, and every neural impulse. If we are to find some explanation for this characteristic of thought, the sense of sight offers suggestive analogy. We have two types of vision: Central and peripheral, not unlike the spotlight and the floodlight. Central vision is used for accurate work like reading, in which our eyes are focused on one small area after another like spotlights. Peripheral vision is less conscious, less bright than the intense ray of the spotlight. We use it for seeing at night, and for taking subconscious notice of objects and movements not in the direct line of central vision. Unlike the spotlight, it can take in very many things at a time.

There is, then, an analogy and perhaps more than mere analogy between central vision and conscious, one-at-a-time thinking, and between peripheral vision and the rather mysterious process which enables us to regulate the incredible complexity of our bodies without thinking at all. It should be noted, further, that we call our body complex as a result of trying to understand them in terms of linear thought, of words and concepts. The complexity is not so much in our body as in the task of trying to understand them by this means of thinking. It is like trying to make out the features of a large room with no other light than a single bright ray. It is as complicated as trying to drink water with a fork instead of a cup. In this respect, the Chinese written language has a slight advantage over English, and is perhaps symptomatic of a different way of thinking. It is still linear, still a series of abstractions taken in one at a time. But its written signs are a little closer to life than spelled words because they are essentially pictures, and, as a Chinese proverb puts it, “One showing is worth a hundred sayings.” Compare, for example, the ease of showing someone how to tie a complex knot with the difficulty of telling one how to do it in words alone.

The general tendency of the Western mind is to feel that we do not really understand what we cannot represent, what we cannot communicate; by linear signs–by thinking. We are like the “wallflower” who cannot learn a dance unless someone draws him a diagram of the steps, who cannot “get it by the feel.” For some reason, we do not trust and do not fully use the “peripheral vision” of our minds. We learn music, for example, by restricting the whole range of tone and rhythm to a notation of fixed tonal and rhythmic intervals–a notation which is incapable of representing Oriental music. But the Oriental musician has a rough notation which he uses only as a reminder of a melody. He learns music, not by reading notes, but by listening to the performance of a teacher, getting the “feel” of it, and copying teacher, and this enables him to acquire rhythmic and tonal sophistications matched only by those Western jazz artists who use the same approach.

It is not to suggest that Westerners simply do not use the “peripheral mind.” Being human, we use it all the time, and every artist, every workman, every athlete calls into play some special development of its powers. But it is not academically and philosophically respectable. We have hardly begun to realize its possibilities, and it seldom, if ever, occurs to us that one of its most important uses is for that “knowledge of reality,” which we try to attain by the cumbersome calculations of theology, metaphysics, and logical inference.

%d bloggers like this: