Saturday, June 27, 2009

Interpretation versus experience


How often do we sacrifice doing something for the sake of talking about doing it?

It is certainly a human failing to choose discourse over doing. I know I am guilty of it. Let's discuss it, analyze it, speculate about it. Doing it: not so much.

It is as though we are on a quest for a concept.

Selling our birthright for pottage.

While reading Bill Moyers' book, Moyers on America: A Journalist and His Times, I was struck by this passage in which he discusses Joseph Campbell:
In our last televised conversation he talked about the "guiding ideas" of his work: to find "the commonality of themes in world myths, pointing to a constant requirement in the human psyche for a centering in terms of deep principles."

"You're talking about a search for the meaning of life," I said.

"No, no, no," he answered. "I'm talking about the experience of being alive!" He explained: "People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is the experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive." (p. 196)
Which, in turn, makes me think of the Buddhist counsel to experience the reality of the moment instead of getting lost in the traps of interpreting it.

Which makes sense to me and seems consonant with so much that the desert abbas and ammas had to say to their disciples many centuries ago.

--the BB

3 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

The older I get, it seems that the less I want to do with concepts. Give me the concrete. No, not that concrete. You know what I mean.

Ans what concepts we must have, let's keep them simple and to the point.

Paul said...

Yep.

Ellie Finlay said...

"...the Buddhist counsel to experience the reality of the moment instead of getting lost in the traps of interpreting it.

Which makes sense to me and seems consonant with so much that the desert abbas and ammas had to say..."

Oh, yes, indeed!

It gladdens my heart that you get it, Paul! Sadly rare. (Oh dear. Not rare that YOU get things but very rare that people get THIS.)