“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Object-Oriented Buddhism 20—Mind Carpentry

It's not enough simply to perceive or understand things. You have to practice them. The sequence is traditionally described as hearing, contemplating and meditating:

Hearing: allowing the facts to sink in
Contemplating: working on them by chewing them over and ruminating (as Christian monks used to do, and cows)
Meditating: doing them, enacting them, integrating them, being them

The fact that Buddhism enshrines technique at its heart is a symptom of how object-oriented it is. Why? Because the mind is a tool. Not simply in the sense of presence-at-hand (a tool for...) but as ready-to-hand (tool-being). Buddhism works with the tool-being aspect of the mind. You can't really know it if you just think about it. Understand?

That's the trouble with Buddhism. In order to understand it properly, you have to practice it. Most non-practitioners' ideas about Buddhism are just caricatures, perhaps more so than for other religions, because of its central emphasis on a carpentry of the mind. See this Ian Bogost post for more.

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”

No comments: