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Thank you!


Another metaphor that emerged from what i recognized as a kenshō experience.

We were in the ER for one of my late husband's health crises, I don't remember which. (As a survivor of a Soviet prison camp and a midwinter escape with gangrene in his legs, he had a few.) I was already in an extreme state. An apparently incorrigible alcoholic derelict, ravaged, scabbed, ragged, was also in the ER. Listening to him rave to the intake people I had all the usual feelings of deploring addiction and the damage it does to people's lives and our parlous, weak inability or unwillingness to withstand it. The physical sensations of deploring: my face drawn into an unhappy, disapproving rictus, my gut weighed down with a red-hot cannonball of protest and despair.

And then THE NET TORE.

That too was a physical sensation. The neural networks of conceptual moralizing in my brain, perhaps, simply ripped apart. The cannonball of anxiety fell away and I was in the ease of free fall. Everything was fine. The drunk was as he was and it was fine. Dear, even. The physical vulnerability and mortality that had brought us to the ER, that we struggle against and that eventually destroys us, that too was fine. THERE WAS NO PROBLEM.

I've had this experience a few times. Do I stay in that state? No way. Yet I know it's there, and even though that, too, is a concept, it relativizes and somehow belittles whatever my obsessions of the moment may be. Somewhere behind the scenes there is always a smile of serene and tender amusement at all the fuss we make.


Much deeper than attire, it's folk religion. "Science" is to our time what the One Church Catholic and Universal was to the fourteenth century — the source of cosmology, explainer of existence, consoler for mortality, generator of culture. The people you cite are analogous to those buying saints' amulets, genuflecting in church on Sundays, hanging a cross over their bed, reflexively repeating the prayers. They do not have the profound understanding of the "theologians" -- the scientists. (How many peasants do you think could explain transubstantiation?) In fact, they have all kinds of wild and superstitious misunderstandings.