Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wen Tzu - Verse 138, Part I

from Verse One Hundred Thirty-Eight
What is most great cannot be enclosed even by heaven and earth, what is most minute cannot even be seen by spirits. When it comes to the point where you set up calendrical divisions, distinguish colors, differentiate clear and cloudy sounds, and taste sweet and bitter flavors, then simple wholeness is divided up to become specific instrumentality.
~ Wen-tzu: Understanding the Mysteries ~
In the sports memorabilia business, collectors are always trying to separate the authentic from the fake. In regards to various food products, the concerned consumer tries to determine what is natural versus what is artificial. When it comes to the totality of life, we broach many of the same questions.

There is no singular answer.

How we answer the questions about life and existence are dependent on a number of variables -- knowledge, experience, belief system, society.

In one way, it could be said that culture itself is artificial. We have invented language to serve as symbolic representations of the ten thousand things in the realm we occupy. For example, the word tree is not a tree itself. It is merely an image or symbol of something else. So, it could be argued that the only authentic thing that you, I and everything else shares in common is an essence that defies our meager attempts to define it.

But that's merely one explanation and, like any other explanation, it is not THE answer. It is just one person's weak attempt to offer a symbolic representation of that which can never be represented by a symbol.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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