We seem to be headed toward a renaissance of Eastern ways, especially The Tao, despite (or maybe due to) our incessant and exclusive (Western-scientific) use of the rational faculty that ultimately ends at a wall where all the stuff beyond cannot be explained ("laid out flat") rationally. Another teacher to help look at these differences in Ways is Alan Watts.
I am in an interesting quandary regarding the use of words to communicate anything to anyone. "All words are lies" in that they can never communicate the direct experience of the thing perceived by the sender of the message to those who have differently arranged nervous systems. I keep relearning this. This is, perhaps, why I tend toward the minimal in my poetry and other writings. The least said the better -- in order to eschew obfuscation. It is also important to be silly. I have come upon this notion recently (that is, in these exact words -- I intend to write on ":the Importance of Being Silly"). Silliness helps us look at the world from different angles to help get a sort of triangulation on the subject at hand.
I am happy for your progress in the world of psychology and your direct experiences with old folks. I assume you take notes. Perhaps they can form the basis of stories?
I recommend to you the 26-page introduction in Alan Watts's "The Supreme Identity: An Essay on Oriental Metaphysic and the Christian Religion." Vintage Books paperback.
2004 will be a good year.
Excerpts from a quarterly letter to my children and grandchildren:
Although I have had many physical adventures in life, from pleasurable to painful and back, my main focus is inward, toward learning and the development of my world- and self-perception. Not everyone will be interested in the workings of my mind and in the things I believe I have learned. Most people will be satisfied only with what their own lives have taught them, for the most part. But, then, why do we read books and watch TV and movie dramas? This is a rhetorical question to be answered by you, if you care to ponder it.
Some people find biographies interesting and useful, a way of learning about the world through the experiences and eyes of others. Such, at least in part, is what I offer in these quarterly reports and in my letters to you and others. But, it is well known, that "a prophet is without honor in his own house."
So, I amuse myself with these ramblings, without expectation that someone else may find anything interesting or useful in them. Should I get the occasional response, I will be surprised and gratified to have made a connection.
Connection is what I perceive to be the most important thing and concept in our world. The more I live and travel, the more I see that we are all connected. This is why, despite my introverted nature, I seek that which connects me with other people. This is why I am fascinated with genealogy and the origins of Man and his families.
Also, I find life an ironical proposition. Things are not always what they seem -- maybe almost never! This is why I often emit what seem to be nonsensical or silly phrases I play with words and concepts that use words, often to test myself regarding the veracity of my own perceptions and assertions. Words are used more often to obscure than to reveal. I try to make my words reveal. But, I am learning that words are quite inadequate to reveal or describe the most important things in life. These "most important things" are known only through direct experience: Love, God, Nature, Beauty.
But, again, there is this natural impulse to tell others of our deep experiences, to connect. So, we use words; and then the trouble begins: misunderstanding, prejudice, inattention, carelessness, ignorance, etc. We reveal ourselves and are misunderstood or are reviled, or even have our words used against us. And there are those times when beautiful connections are made, however transitory they may turn out to be.
So, we continue. We seem not to be able to help ourselves from reaching out, to communicate, to connect. It is just as we, as a race of beings, are unable not to explore the universe in various ways, through space travel, philosophy, and in our own peculiar ways.
These are my words today. I hope they reveal more than they might have obscured.