Thursday, October 1, 2015

"après moi le déluge"

The 18th century French king Louis XV is credited -- with some help from Madame de Pompadour -- with the line, "après moi le déluge" (after me, the flood). Both aristocrats are credited with seeing the French Revolution in the offing but I wonder to what extent anyone imagines that with the passage of their own life's tapestry, somehow the world will fall into disarray: "Things would be more sensible and wholesome and nourishing if only my way were the way of the world."

And further, I wonder how the French king's haughty pronouncement might dovetail with the intellectually-flummoxing conundrum the Buddha Gautama posed when, on attaining something blithely referred to as "enlightenment," was said to have taken seven steps in each of the cardinal directions and then, with his right hand raised to heaven and his left hand pointing to the earth, said, "Above the heavens and below the earth, I alone am the world-honored one."

I am what is. 

Without me everything goes to hell in a hand basket.

I wonder how deep that supposition goes.

"It's apples and oranges!" the well-warmed Buddhists might crow: Louis was expressing the insufferable arrogance that any aristocrat might whereas Gautama was speaking from a deeper understanding of what "self" might mean.

And maybe it's true.

On the other hand, maybe it's not.

True or false? "I am what is."

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