Sunday, February 23, 2014

good + bad = good

Back in a time when I read and loved and relied on a lot of books, I once tried to quantify what my taste in stories might be. What I came up with was a formula: Good + bad = good.

Willa Cather, Isak Dinesen and Leo Tolstoy were among the authors who fit my mold and made me go "yum!" And I could find others who agreed with me.

These days, without the uppity scowling, I look back on that formula and sort of think...

The only problem with good and bad is that it presupposes something could be other than what it is: Thoughts, words, deeds ... presupposing it could be other than what it is.

You can sort of see why the Zen teacher Rinzai once encouraged his students to "grasp and use, but never name."

Not that naming is good or bad, but maybe it's a good idea to know what it is.

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