People in the world spend a lot of time concerning themselves with what is right and what is wrong. Some say there is no such thing as right and wrong. And others say that it is wrong to say that there is no such thing as right and wrong. They say that right is right and wrong is wrong. So, what is right and what is wrong?
Personally, I have to confess that I find this whole business of right and wrong most confusing. And frankly I can’t actually tell you what is right and what is wrong. However, I have observed that some people go around being right about things and yet they are quite wrong. And others go around being wrong about things and they are indeed quite wrong. And yet there are still others who go around being wrong about things and yet they are quite right.
Wherever you go nowadays you will find people on every street corner offering to help you to make improvements to yourself. It is indeed fortunate that there is so much assistance at hand. However, it seems to me that when it comes to this whole business of making improvements there are essentially two kinds of approaches you can take. You can either pick things up or you can put them down. Picking things up is called making improvements. Putting them down is called unimproving yourself.
Somebody once made the observation that life is like a cat with two heads. Now, I don’t know whether there is any merit in such a bald-headed claim or not. But speaking of cats, consider this a moment. The cat looks in the mirror and it sees another cat. On the other hand, you look in the mirror and you see yourself. So, who’s seeing things straight, you or the cat?
One of the more remarkable things about the English is the way they like to talk about the weather. When there is nothing special to say, they will immediately start to make idle chit chat about the weather. How banal you will say. How ordinary. Indeed. Mostly people nowadays have little time for the ordinary. It is considered to be dull. They say, “Show me the unordinary. Show me something extraordinary!”
Let me tell you something interesting. You can put on your boots and you can travel to the ends of the earth. You can climb to the top of mountains. You can spend an entire lifetime looking for the unordinary. And yet looking for the unordinary you will miss the ordinary. And if you miss the ordinary you won’t ever notice the unordinary.
All rivers have their own character and move at their own pace. The ancients considered that they had their own spirit and lit candles in their honour. Some they likened to gods. Each great river starts as but a small trickle. To begin with there is the headlong urgency and rush of the raging mountain stream. It is like an untamed wild animal that can’t be contained. It wants to force asunder everything in its way. Gathering mass and solidity it slows and comes into its own. As the river gets closer to the sea it arrives at the plains where it starts to meander. It goes this way and that. It flows lazily with the contours of the land. No longer in a hurry it knows what it is and where it is going and so it looks like it is without direction. It is like a great bird carried by the wind. It moves without moving. It takes in the beauty of the landscape and relishes being a part of it. And as it floods, it gives back some of what it has accumulated before it finally merges into the sea.
You may think you know all about it. But let me tell you that life is like a cat with two heads. It is a strange thing indeed. You will never capture its essence in your net of ideas and ideology. You will only drive it away. You might well study all the metaphysics in the world yet I can assure you that what it is will still elude you. You may think that you have grasped it, yet it will have already run out from between your fingers. On the one hand you might attribute no worth to it. And yet its worth will become apparent to you when it has slipped by. On the other hand, you might go around and proclaim its great worth. Yet your proclamations will only belie the lack of worth that you have really discovered.
Life is a strange thing indeed. The value of a person is hardly noticed when they are there. It is only realized in their absence. It is not until they are gone that they are truly noticed. They are suddenly seen most clearly in their absence. Freedom is appreciated least by those who have it. Freedom is appreciated most by those who have been without it. Those who have not known oppression of the heart cannot properly relish the taste of freedom. The delicate flavour of water is known most keenly by those who have been most thirsty. Without thirst the true delight of water is never fathomed. Love is not properly known through proximity. The true measure of love is ultimately only known through separation. Its depth is known by the degree of pain that it brings.
The human being is only half of a thing. He likes to think that he is a whole of a thing but the truth is that he is only half of a thing. So even whilst he repeatedly tells himself that he is the whole of a thing he runs around looking for the other half of a thing to prove to himself that he is actually the whole of a thing.
Now when it comes to the other half of a thing, it would seem that the other half of a thing is not an easy thing to get hold of. No one really seems to know why that is the case. But, if you happen to catch sight of it somewhere, please let us know because there are always people looking for the other half of a thing.
Who fits into what? Does this fit into that? Or does that fit into this? Who makes way? Does this make way for that or does that make way for this? Is this because of that? Or is that because of this? Is there a shape to things? Or isn’t there? If there is no shape to things then things wouldn’t have a shape. And if there is a shape to things then why don’t you see it?
One day Gnosis was sitting at his desk when he looked up from his books and said to his wife Energeia, “All this running around all day uselessly shopping for shoes and gossiping with your friends. Why is it that after all this time you have still learnt nothing at all?”
Replied Energeia, “All this useless pile of knowledge that you have amassed. Why is it that you still can’t even cook your own lunch? And worse than that, after all these years you still haven’t learnt any manners.”
There are certain things that should not be spoken of lightly, that if you go looking for, you won’t ever find. In fact, the very fact that you are looking for them will keep them far away.
It’s a bit like love. Love is not something that you go out looking for. It’s something that may or may not pass your way when the time has come.
Poets understand this. Others don’t.