Sunday, May 08, 2016

Pico Iyer redux

from Krista Tippett's interview with Pico Iyer (I recommend you listen to the whole thing):

These areas seemed particularly worth pointing out.

1. Failure of intellect.  Sounds harsh, but despite everything that rational knowledge has brought to benefit life for humans, it seems what really counts is beyond technical analysis; for example, Love.
I think that everything important in my life has not come through my mind, but through my spirit or my being or my heart. Everything I trust, whether it's the people I love or the values I cherish or the places that have moved me, have come at some much deeper level than the mind. And I sometimes think the mind makes lots of complications over what is a much more beautiful and transparent encounter with the world. So I suppose I've tried to run away from everything I associate with the intellect.

This reminds me of the three critical questions everyone must ask before opening their mouth:
-- Is it True ?
-- Is it Necessary ?, and finally
-- Is it Kind ?
If something you are about to say is not all three,  don't.

The failure of intellect is no more plain in the story of Faust's bargain - he sought all kinds of knowledge, even that "transcendent knowledge denied to the rational mind".  And despite everything he learned, Faust utterly lacked a moral compass, and that was plain in his actions. 

2. Maps.  Krista describes Pico as a map maker, a
cartographer, an observer, as well as a participant in this — I would say — the rediscovery of the inner world, both in yourself but also in the world at large. And it runs all the way through your writing, kind of finding people everywhere in unexpected places, exploring this part of life with a new kind of vigor and a new integrity
the idea of which is similar to a model for the "atlas of emotions" being worked by Paul Ekman in collaboration with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  .    As I've mentioned in my previous post, something more personally specific would be helpful:  a map is not useful unless you know where you are, and where you want to go.  So much work to be done yet.

3. Kindness is water, religion is tea.  More on tea soon. 
spirituality is water, and religion is the tea. I wondered if, what if spirituality is water, and religion is the cup, you know, which carries it forward, although it may be flawed, and we may drop it and break it. I don't know, what do you think about that?
Mr. Iyer: No, I love that notion of the cup. And if you had just asked me that question now, I would say that spirituality is — as we were just saying — the story of our passionate affair with what is deepest inside us and with the candle that's always flickering inside us and sometimes almost seems to go out and sometimes blazes. And religion is the community, the framework, the tradition, all the other people into which we bring what we find in solitude. So in some ways, I would say very much exactly the thing that you just said. And I should also say when — if I talked about water and tea, I was probably stealing from the Dalai Lama because what he often say that the most important thing without which we can't live is kindness. We need that to survive. And he says kindness is water, religion is like tea.

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