Monday, August 20, 2012

Perspective, Part Two: An Entire Range, A Single Peak

I wonder:  is it possible to view oneself (or, "one's self") objectively?  I think not.  There is an inherent and inescapable conflict of interest, isn't there?  I suspect that such objectivity is attainable only by the holy (in a mystical, non-sectarian sense) or the mad.  (Perhaps "and/or" rather than "or" is more appropriate in such a case.)

It is somewhat akin to trying to imagine yourself dead.

                 F. H. Glasbury, "Sunshine and Shadow in Epping Forest"

   Written on the Wall at Xilin Temple

Regarded from one side, an entire range;
     from another, a single peak.
Far, near, high, low, all its parts
     different from the others.
If the true face of Mount Lu
     cannot be known,
It is because the one looking at it
     is standing in its midst.

Su Tung-P'o (Su Shih) (1037-1101), in Beata Grant (translator), Mount Lu Revisited: Buddhism in the Life and Writings of Su Shih (University of Hawaii Press 1994).

                        Tom Gentleman, "Balfron, the Field Bridge" (1922)


One's "sense of self" is a curious thing:
Compare the slights you think you have suffered
With those you have visited upon others.
Ah!  then a sudden wind rattles the doors --
As if the world had a life of its own.

sip (March 2011).

                       Ethelbert White, "Sun Through the Wood" (c. 1932)

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