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McDonalds Memo - 5


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Back in my old McDonald's haunt with white coffee after a Grandchildren Day (while Mum was taking a well earned rest up in the big smoke watching the "Back to the Future" musical, which she said was awesome!) Simply had to get them to school this morning and now in McDonald's.

Mentioned recently somewhere that Quotes can have their place......to quote (!) A A Milne, they are handy things to have around, "saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself". Ha ha. But is that necessarily so? They can clarify the mind, concentrate the mind. I have a Blook of quotes gathered over time, all illustrated. I often browse through it and sometimes wonder why I thought certain one's were worthy of remembering. Yet such ones can change, which makes me think. A time and a place for everything.

Here is one I found....


Translating Holy Books

We go unwinding the woof from the web of meaning.

Words of the sutras day by day come forth.

Head on, we chase the mystery of the dharma.



The mystery of the Dharma. Truth. The Dharma as "teaching" speaks of avidya (ignorance) being at the heart of suffering (dukkha) Which is a very positive, even optimistic thought in that it implies that if we knew/saw/understood correctly then we would be free of suffering - herenow and not in some future world.

As I understand it, our ignorance is not innate but is more simply the compiled thoughts and impressions gathered since birth, piled on top of each other, clouding our perceptions.

Getting back to Wittgenstein, there is a fine biography of him by Ray Monk. I have always loved biographies, particularly of "thinkers", poets and the like. It puts flesh and blood on their thoughts - just as we put flesh and blood onto quotes if we truly absorb them, just as Jesus put flesh and blood onto "God". In the Ray Monk biography he relates a story of Wittgenstein saying to an acquaintance that he thought that his, i.e.Wittgensteins, teachings had done more harm than good. He asked his acquaintance:- "Do you understand" and they replied:- "Oh yes, they had found a formulae" and Wittgenstein responded:- "Exactly!"

Thomas Merton has suggested much the same, saying:- If you want to find satisfactory formulas you had better deal with things that can be fitted into a formula. The vocation to seek God is not one of them. Nor is existence. Nor is the spirit of man. (and woman too presumably.......   😊)

Ray Monk records Wittgenstein as saying that an expression "has meaning only in the stream of life" and I tend to agree. The Living Word, not the Word as Text beloved by fundamentalists of all persuasions.

We simply cannot capture "truth" and put it into definitive words, into doctrines and creeds. Doing so simply creates a climate for conflict, wars, Inquisitions, "us" and "them". The spirit blows where it will, as the Good Book says. No one owns it. And it belongs to the present and the future, never the past.

Well, I suppose I have waffled enough. Back to the real world this afternoon, picking up the two little kiddies and shepherding them home. Duty calls.

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