Sunday, December 05, 2010

BTW, it's sort of like a joke: if I have to explain it...

I'm still a tiny bit bothered that some folks might not have "gotten" my post yesterday on Prejudices, Stereotypes and Preconceptions ("PSP").

So, maybe I'll ...explain...

I realized on writing what I wrote yesterday that I'd kinda sorta written a koan.  In addition,  I thought I was writing a post on PSP, but as it happened, I realized that the post was kinda sorta self-referential...and so I couldn't explain it without putting my own PSP into your head.  Or would I have been?  (Cogitate on that, if you will: a large part, if not all verbal communication tends to be of forms arising from PSP.)

Part of the "structure" of any koan,  is to induce into the practioner's mind the "koan mind" that can be elicited by the koan.  So it would have been difficult for me to "explain" the koan without destroying it, so to speak (which is why Dharma talks on koans are not good for "bringing the answer" into sanzen).

And therefore the "point" of the post would have been diminished somewhat.

I'm reminded by that post of words I think I remember that Douglas Hofstadter wrote in his book Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid,  in commenting how Mumon's commentaries read much like the koan cases themselves.  Hofstadter wrote, considering symbolic logic, programming language theory and automata theory as  the context, that  in koans the "source language" appears very similar to the object language.

And so it is with my post of yesterday.


Kyle Lovett said...

Koans to me are like baking cookies in an oven with no window. If you keep opening the door to see if their done, you'll let out all the heat....wait, nevermind.

Mumon said...

Like Richard Feynman's "tube with light inside."