Thursday, June 6, 2013

the find-out factor

Just guessing here...

Leaving aside any top-lofty criticism, isn't it a strange and contagious capacity ... how much anyone might know without bothering to find out?

Of course no one wants his or her ox gored, so what they know is based on long study and perhaps intense experience: They did in fact bother to find out. They're not like all those other people who are shooting from the hip and claiming to know what they haven't bothered to find out.

For example: For 13 years, I painted apartments in New York City. In one sense, I know something about painting. For 40 or more years, I have been interested in and to some extent put my ass on the line for spiritual endeavor. So maybe I know something about that. And for longer than any dabbling in spiritual adventure, I have exercised an interest in or desire to write. And on a bad day, I can claim to know something about writing.

These are things about which I know something ... but have I bothered to find out? In one sense, sure. But in a more important sense, I think I think....

Don't be ridiculous!

I'd say the way to gauge the find-out level of what is known probably rests on the importance imputed to it. If it's important, there is something left to find out. If it's unimportant, there is something left to find out. And where there is something left to find out, the contagious capacity to know is bound to trip anyone up.

Importance and unimportance are not so necessary. Which is not to say they are unnecessary.

It is to say:

Where circumstances arise, act...and where you make a mistake, correct it.

I dislike -- meaning it pretty much makes me want to throw up -- the contagion of relying on the savvy of others, but I have to admit I like the Zen teacher Rinzai's observation, "Grasp and use, but never name."

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