Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Love Nihilism, I Love Zen

I am not sure what I am getting at with this title. But then immediately after I wrote that I added the part that says “I Love Zen.” Because at first the title was just “I Love Nihilism.” Both of which are true. I love both of those things. I find nihilism to be very exciting and liberating. It helps me feel good about what is happening in my life. I also love Zen. I have been reading some Zen stuff and man does it make me feel good. Just so fascinating. So practical. So real and perceptive. So insistent on perception and the struggle with perception.

Hello, reality. Can I have you? Can I get close to you? Can I perceive you accurately? It seems as though Zen tries to help answer those questions with a yes. I need to meditate.

But I think that Nihilism offers something very similar to Zen. I think it offers a way to be peaceful. A way to try to perceive reality accurately and a way to just be. Yeah. But it seems to me that the Nihilists that I have read were taking steps to enable the practice of Zen. I believe that Nihilists, too, want to perceive reality accurately. I think Nihilism wants to know what is really going on. I also suspect that my reading of Nihilism is too limited. So I’ll read more Nihilist stuff in the future, no doubt.

I already wrote an extended post on this once. I believe it was in April. I wrote about Nihilism as a positive philosophy. One that can bring about calmness and mindfulness. I still think that it is true. But that was when my reading was explicitly focused on Nihlism. Now my reading has been explicitly focused on Zen. So now I am coming to similar conclusions. From both sides of the street it seems like the same road to mindfulness. I am finding similar lessons and conclusions about daily life in both Zen and Nihilism.

Because this all has to come back to daily life. I want to live differently everyday. I want to become different all the time. And to me it seems like Nihilism and Zen both offer this path towards a different life. They offer an open and flexible set of rules or ideas that can allow you to live your life creatively. I want to live my life creatively. And I am so happy that Shunryu Suzuki has been so explicit about how Zen is about expressing yourself fully in every moment. Expressing your true nature, all the time. That is what I want.

But I will just say quickly that this idea of ‘nature’ and expressing your nature doesn’t jive so well with something I’m reading right now and other stuff I have read before. In particular, John Searle in “Making the Social World” discusses status functions. And Slavoj Zizek, in “Violence”, which I am currently reading, discusses how things don’t necessarily have a nature or an essence, but rather language and society gives things their ‘nature’. Things to ponder, no doubt. But I suspect these things are compatible. And I suspect they are compatible because creativity is still possible, and we could creatively construct our own essence. Perhaps. Anyways. Cya.

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