Friday, August 26, 2011

Did Mickey Laugh?

Did Mickey Laugh?
by Scott Bradley

Why did Mickey Mouse laugh at Pluto?

I offer this question as a koan for our times.

Pondering the koan, Why did Bodhidharma come from the West?, I find little traction. Because he was in the West and decided to go East, of course. Somehow I think this misses the point. And, to be honest, Bodhidharma means little to me. Perhaps for the Patriarchs he was real, but for me — and to history — he is essentially a legendary figure. I might as well add that 'bodhi' and 'dharma' mean little to me either, for though they signify concepts of great depth, they have neither emotive nor conceptual significance for me. Perhaps I lack depth — or simply the metaphysical world-view that gives them depth.

Why did Mickey laugh at Pluto? Here, I find traction. Is there a Mickey? How real is he? Did he laugh? Why did he laugh? Why do I ask why he laughed?

No doubt I can find archival proof of Mickey having laughed at Pluto. It is true then, he did laugh. But if he is unreal, was his laugh real? And why did he laugh? Because Pluto was a silly dog. More proofs are forth-coming. But why laugh?

On some level Mickey laughed. But there is no Mickey, is there? So, did Mickey laugh or not? Reason has the answers, but they answer nothing at all.

If the object of a koan is to make one re-think and then un-think, then I think this one works admirably. It leaves me un-thunk.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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