Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tick tock, tick tock...

Work goes on, it will start to run out soon then I'll need new contracts.

I had an idea that I'm working on to create an online animated character which users can interact with. I think I know how to do it: 3DS MAX, Swift 3D, Flash, AIML. If only I had time...

Had a half day of Zazen at the weekend. I'd like to get into the habit of sitting almost every day again. So many distractions. I've finally got around to sewing my rakusu again - Rosemary gave me a pattern to work to. Making reasonable progress now after a slow start.

We did some nice stone tiling in the kitchen. A good result even if we wasted a lot of money trying to chemically remove sealant residue when the only thing that worked was a scrubbing pad and a bit of hard work.

Still clearing the garden of old building materials left by the previous occupants and taking it to the waste centre. It's like the scene in The Great Escape where they remove small amounds of soil by smuggling it in their trousers. When can I start my Japanese garden? Saw two nice and reasonably priced 'stone' lanterns made of concrete. I went to the quarry yesterday and it looks like I can buy boulders and rockery rocks and have them delivered. Cotswold stone - white, yellow or red, yes I think red. Little white pebbles around the base like surf around islands.

We have tickets on Friday to see a Japanese production of Titus Andronicus in Stratford-on-Avon.

I'm working on a couple of substantial blog posts - one on the nature and applicabability of the concept of truth in Zen, and another one I've been trying to get out for ages on the Anthropic Principle. Watch this space...

Monday, June 05, 2006


Wittgenstein is one of my favourite philosphers, although I haven't yet read one of his books from one cover to the other. I came across some nice quotations today, which really resonate well with Buddhist philosophy, Zen especially.

the problems vanish when you are in the nonverbal dimension of consciousness. You see the answers to all the questions that theologians and metaphysicians ask and you see why their questions are absurd. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer.
- Tractatus 6.52

The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the problem. -
- Tractatus 6.521

In other words, if a particular way of cognising/symbolising reality leads to seemingly intractable dualisms and problems such as 'The Hard Problem of Consciousness' those problems are not necessarily inherent in reality, but may be artefacts of the way the mind interprets, symbolises and communicates about reality.

Of course, Wittgenstein's concerns were slightly different and aimed at intellectuals rather than humanity in general. He saw his linguistic philosphy as a solution to traditional philosphy which he seems to have regarded almost as a pathology. He saw all or almost all of the problems of philosophy and metaphysics as being due to extending language beyond its appropriate use. Zen on the other hand seems to see the problem as being more deep-rooted and widespread - that taking the conventional truths of thought and speech as absolute truths causes suffering for all sentient beings. For me, whether this applies to animals or not, is an interesting question.