Friday, March 12, 2004

Leaves without Trees

This is precisely why it's so important not to get fooled, Tonio. When you take yourself for a solid opaque being and cast up accounts it can only come to zero (at best). Not because there's nothing there, but because you've asked the question in such a way that it can only have one answer. What do I have to show for it? What will I have to show for it?

Oh, they sound like open-ended questions, but they're not. The definition of "I" dictates the answer, and the only answer they can possibly evoke is: nothing. You define yourself as all that is separate and mortal and then ask, what's to show for it? Silly question. We all know what becomes of separate, mortal things. They die, they decompose, they disappear. What does a leaf have to show for its life? Well, exactly what we do. No more, no less. As a solid opaque leaf, its life is meaningless. But the point is -- the point is -- as a separate object that leaf was always meaningless. If that leaf had ever been really separate it would would never have been green or gloriously gold or red at all. It simply wouldn't have been there.

And that's why the question makes no sense. Because any place where any meaning could have crept into it has already been defined away. You've taken away the tree and the sun and the loving eyes that saw its beauty. It's not a leaf, so defined; it's a scrap of tissue. Sure. But only because you've reified it and separated it. Given it a solid opaque self.

There are no leaves without trees. No such thing.

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