Reply To: Hello! I’m happy to be here

  • Mike Todd

    July 13, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    I hope all’s well, Andrei. I’ve been reacquainting myself with Krishnamurti – it’s been a while. Browsing his official website, I found one of his better-known quotes especially resonant, in relation to my observation about being continually defeated in the pursuit of knowledge:

    You must understand the whole of life, not just one part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, why you must sing, dance and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.

    This ethos of unquenchable vitality resurfaced again, albeit in a different framing, in a Henry Miller disclosure that appeared on my feed yesterday:

    I have a theory that the moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. I have tried this experiment a thousand times and I have never been disappointed. The more I look at a thing, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I want to see. It is like peeling an onion. There is always another layer, and another, and another. And each layer is more beautiful than the last.

    This is the way I look at the world. I don’t see it as a collection of objects, but as a vast and mysterious organism. I see the beauty in the smallest things, and I find wonder in the most ordinary events. I am always looking for the hidden meaning, the secret message. I am always trying to understand the mystery of life.

    I know that I will never understand everything, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

    I am content to live in the mystery, to be surrounded by the unknown. I am content to be a seeker, a pilgrim, a traveler on the road to nowhere.

    For Miller, being continually defeated (“[there] is always another layer, and another, and another”, “I know that I will never understand everything”) appears to be, not a source of frustration or despondency, but rather a fount of joy (“each layer is more beautiful than the last”); and juxtaposing Miller’s quote with Krishnamurti’s, one arrives at the counterintuitive realisation that suffering itself, as a vehicle of understanding – a means of revealing another layer – may become a source of joy (Boethius).

    Even Miller’s final phrase (“the road to nowhere”), which prima facie may seem a little nihilistic, is, I believe, an affirmation of the ethos of unquenchable vitality. It aligns with the soteriology of Daojia and Mahayana Buddhism: it accepts that there may be no final destination wherein one attains peace and perfect understanding; nevertheless, there is always the journey itself – moments of heaven in the eternally-unfolding here and now. A good book is a gate of pearl.