edges

Coelho06Where are “you”? When you think of “you,” and “yourself” where does that self reside? No idle question—there is a point here: that point is you. There is a sharpness to what we consider “ourselves,” as if all the biological processes and action up to now end in this pointed “now” that you occupy. In Euclidian geometry, a point is zero dimensional, only knowable by its location in space, and from there it connects to and defies its zeroness with other points to form lines, curves and dimensional objects. The point is like us, knowable only in the reationships to otherness, be it an otherness from within our biological borders, or the vast moving worlds we sense.

The pointedness of human consciousness is hard to debate. It is an arrow, always and forever widening and filling the medium of time and experience. The most subtle knife, it never stops the work of dividing the Moment into experience, this body of sensation and impression. Wielding the sharpness where we will, choosing how to move and what to do with the multiple divisions presented to our memories.. The sharpness is indispensable and probably impossible to dull: it is with this tool that we divide the world into different things: the coffee cup from the coffee, the yearning from the passion, that pedestrian from the nearby lovers. In the most blunted and inactive conception of thought, the pleasant fuzziness of wine or the comprehensive loss during a massage, we can only know these things because we know them as different from other things. In this conception the sharp point is indivisble from who we are, because it is only though that sharpness that we are able to conceive.

This is a rather cutting image. It models consciousness that can never stop considering one thing divided from another; hence the self divided and dividing too, a knowing but untouchable blade, somewhat lonely. Unity we seek, a unity free from anything piercing, comforts which escape the often razored edges of time-experience-difference. The dive into cold morning ocean, enveloping briskness, sensations which overwhelm all experience of “division” and allow unity. In short: an escape from this human-made image of division. We seek that which allows the knife of conscious thought to become an irrelevant metaphor. Engrossing work, Zen, directed action, or merely a languid bath: anything that distracts from apartness.

But maybe the image is unlikable just because sharp things have the potential to harm. A wound on the skin or psyche is a literal experience of dis-unity, and it hurts. Anyone who works in art or human relations knows that the tendency to divide and categorize is what ends up hurting potentialities. In other words, even without realizing it, the tendency is to cut apart. It is absolutely vital, then, to know that the mere edge of experience divvying up sense impressions or emotions or concepts is not a blade to ignore. Vital, then, to not sever or cut away obliviously, nor to injure with purpose. Vital, then, to direct the twin swords of perception and reflection to freeing unhealthy knots, to unsever bonds of predujuice. The sharpness is merely an automatic knife to know one thing apart from another: but with care it can also release us from our nooses, and make all a part of all else.

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