Well, I'm about to break my previous record for "longest post that no one will read...
I couldn't sleep the other night, so I wrote this out in my head. Today, I pushed some buttons and got those thoughts onto my computer.
It's a little long, but I think I got some ideas out of my head that I've been working on for a while. Some of it is not nearly explained sufficiently, but I think its a good start. Sorry if you don't care for the pseudo-Platonic style. As this came to me as a conversation, I thought i would preserve the format. Sorry also about typos. It took a while to type out, and I'm a little too tired to read it through more than once.
Two men are standing next to each other and one is holding up a sign.
Frank: Hey Bill, whatcha got there?
Bill: Why, it’s the truth!
Frank looks at the placard that Bill is holding. It reads “A = A.”
Frank: Whoa, really? What does A equal?
Bill: It equals A, silly.
Frank: No, I mean what is A?
Bill: Why it’s A. Could it not be more obvious?
Frank: Where did you learn what A was?
Bill: I just read it off someone else’s placard and it made perfect sense to me. When I “got it” they gave me my own placard. Would you like your own placard?
Frank: That’s all right. I’ve been offered quite a few already.
Bill: Suit yourself.
Frank: Let me ask you this, why A?
Bill: Because A is perfect in every way and is a pure expression of life and love.
Frank: Whoa, A is? Where did you get that?
Bill: Isn’t it self-evident? A is perfection beyond imagination!
Frank: I was talking to a guy the other day who told me B was pretty much the same thing.
Bill: That’s too bad. I feel sad for such a person who has not yet accepted A into his heart.
Frank: Funny, that’s what the guy with the B placard said too.
Bill: I’m sure that’s what he thinks, but he’s missing the mark. Missing it by a mile!
Frank: Bill, let me ask you a question about this A of yours because I just don’t get it.
Bill: I would love to help!
Frank: I’m still not quite getting how one comes to know what A even is. How did you learn about A?
Bill: Well, I lived my life with a latent sense of lack and when I discovered the beauty of A, my life changed. I began to feel whole, like a new person. I honestly believe A was calling out for me from the beginning and we were finally reunited.
Frank: Just A called out to you?
Bill: Yes, for A is perfect and supreme.
Frank: Hmmm… I still don’t get really what it is? You can’t really see it, or really think about it even as it doesn’t seem to be based on anything tied to the senses.
Bill: Oh no, A is transcendent and perfect.
Frank: So how do you know it?
Bill: Well… through faith. When you accept A on faith, into your heart, it sort of blossoms inside of you and you feel it coursing through your veins. It makes the world brighter, the air sweeter and many other wonderful things.
Frank: Whoa, so you had to uncritically accept it into your being?
Bill: In a matter of speaking, yes, but I think I was very critical in choosing A as it is pretty reasonable. Besides, many people have accepted the truth of A.
Frank: I’m not so comfortable accepting information so blindly, but I suppose that’s what the “faithful” would do. Doesn’t the process seem a little odd to you? You know, if you allow a self-referential idea into your mind-body that attaches itself to your pre-existing ideas of love and life, don’t you think that this may just in a sense adopting a psychological narrative that makes the world seem more optimistic than it is?
Bill: I’m afraid that you are mistaken, my friend. It is not that I accepted this notion into my heart, it is that the notion was there from the beginning. You do not need to accept A at all, for it is already present in each and every one of us. It gave us life and molded each and every one of us in its image. It is simply a matter of waking up to this truth.
Frank: Hold on, I think you missed my point. You see, prior to accepting A, there just isn’t any validation to it. I mean nothing at all.
Bill: Aren’t you listening to what I am saying? A is love and life? These are a priori truths and proof of A’s existence.
Frank: Argh… Are you not just taking the constituent characteristics of the human being and assigning divine status to them?
Bill: Well, they are divine. I’m not sure I understand your point.
Frank: I mean, without A, they wouldn’t be divine at all, just human.
Bill: Just because you don’t understand A doesn’t mean that it does not function the way it does. Love and life would be its characteristics even if I didn’t know about A! It’s that perfect!
Frank: Well, I suppose then that it’s a good thing that someone gave you that placard.
Frank: I’m still not sure I understand how you get from your placard, to faith, to an objective understanding of A, for to me, being divorced from any sort of grounding in shared experience makes this difficult to understand.
Bill: I see what you’re getting at. Here comes my friend Carl. Hey Carl!
Carl shows up. He too is carrying a placard that reads “A = A.”
Carl: How goes it Bill!
Bill: Hey, man, everything is great. I was just talking with my friend Frank here and he was wondering about A.
Carl: Exciting news!!!
Bill: Now Frank, it is more than evident that life came from somewhere and found itself in a very advanced state. I do not think it unreasonable to believe that A created us this way so that we could love It and each other.
Carl: Yup, yup, um-hu.
Bill: You see, A revealed to us many years ago its form and its intentions for us. By accepting A’s teachings, we return to a more beautiful and pure state of existence, at one with the will of A.
Carl: Yes, yes!
Bill: When I talk to Carl, he knows what I am talking about for he has verified the revelation too.
Frank: I’m still hung up on the bit from before about A adding little or nothing to what is already human, but I sorta see what you’re getting at. But let me ask you this. If you accept the narrative of A and so does Carl, are you not just participating in the same narrative, like two people in the same play, sharing the same fantasy, and most importantly, just sharing the same language. To me, it just doesn’t seem like A has any referent outside of the placards you are both holding.
Carl: First, we are indeed all in the same play: A’s play. He’s sorta the director.
Frank: That’s not what I had in mind, but go on.
Carl: As Bill mentioned, this is a revelation of A’s will. If you would simply have faith, the splendor and beauty of A will open up before you too.
Bill, it was nice to see you again, but I gotta split. Frank, nice meeting you.
Carl smiles and walks away whistling a happy tune.
Bill: I hope this is starting to make sense.
Frank: It is in a way, but I still have my reservations. Let me run this analogy by you.
Frank: The way I see it, it’s a lot like watching football on the television. Some people passionately follow one team to the degree that they buy tons of memorabilia and jerseys, name their dog “Elway,” and passionately scream for their team each Sunday. They really devote one part of their life to such a team.
Bill: Dude, we’re talking about A here, not just some football team.
Frank: Well, from my perspective, this is how it looks.
Bill: That’s tragic…
Frank: Well follow my argument anyway and see where it’s applicable. Any way, I don’t see a problem with it at first glance, but some tremendous problems arise at times. First of all, it seems completely arbitrary how one chooses a team. Me, I was born in Minnesota. Do you think it is at all odd that I’m a Vikings fan?
Bill: Ha, ha. Not at all.
Frank: This was pure chance. If I was born in Dallas, I may have been a Cowboys fan. Do you see the “throwenness” of it all?
Bill: The problem with your analogy is that the Vikings didn’t create the NFL.
Both: Ha, ha, ha!
Bill: You see, it isn’t simply a matter of choosing which team to follow. There’s really only one team.
Frank: Then it seems you’ve missed my point, for there are many teams -countless teams. To continue with my analogy, there are people everywhere who swear by their team’s supremacy, regardless of performance. They can be 7-9 for the season and people will still claim that they are the best team in the league. Isn’t that strange?
Bill: It’s gotta be hard living in Detroit!
Both: Ha, ha, ha!!
Frank: I can’t imagine! But people do love the Lions.
Bill: I see where you’re going with this, but I still think you’re way off the mark.
Frank: If you haven’t followed my analogy so far, at least please humor me a bit more. My concern is that when people who follow different teams get together, they tend to get quite upset with each other. If my team is losing and the guy I’m watching the game with is celebrating, you cannot help but become frustrated. It seems to me that at the very least tension is inevitable. This is especially true when it comes to the Super Bowl. “There can be only one.”
Bill: This is where I think your analogy falls apart. The way I see it, there’s really only one team and if everyone would cheer for that team, we could all live together happily.
Frank: I just don’t see the world that way. What of other teams then?
Bill: Other teams are simply in the wrong league, or wrong sport. It’s like converting someone who watches elementary school kick ball over to watching the Vikings.
Frank: Well, to return to my analogy, I think that the overwhelming bit of information that you are overlooking is that every last team in the NFL has the exact same attitude as you do. What do you make of that? I mean they seriously have the same passion as you, the same conviction as you and even came to accept their truth through faith as you did.
Bill: Well, it saddens me that they have fallen upon false words for the fact of the matter is that they are mistaken.
Frank: That is exactly what they would say about you.
Bill: Hey, their loss.
Frank: I really don’t think you see the big picture here.
Bill: Well, I’m afraid you’ve missed it too. A is love and life, there is no more perfect truth than that.
Frank: “A truth revealed through faith” you mean?
Bill: No, just look around you. Is this not self-evident?
Frank: No, it isn’t. What is evident is that you are referencing the vocabulary of your placard to talk about everyday things that add superfluous metaphysics.
Bill: Humanity would be lost without these teachings!
Frank: Perhaps that was true, but I just don’t see that to be the case anymore.
Bill: Again, that’s your loss, Frank. Say, I never realized that you don’t have a placard at all. Everyone has a placard to define themselves, but I don’t recall seeing yours. Where is it?
Frank: Well, I don’t think you’ll like it.
Bill: I’m an easy going guy, try me!
Frank pulls out his placard and shows it to Bill. It reads, “Please put down your placard and investigate the physical world and the workings of your mind-body.”
Bill: I’m sorry, but that is the craziest placard I have ever seen. It, it just doesn’t even make sense. It isn’t even a statement.
Frank: You’re right. This isn’t a statement. This one defines a method. From my perspective, this makes worlds of sense.
Bill: I mean, I’ve seen some “B = B” placards and even came across some “C = C” and I could sorta follow what they were getting at, but this takes the cake! It just doesn’t even make sense!
Frank: This doesn’t make sense? You’ve got to be kidding me!
Bill: Well, to me faith makes perfect sense; A created all then sent a message about A which is to be accepted through faith. But what you’re saying is circular and just, well, non-sense.
Frank: Bill, to me your perspective is circular non-sense.
Bill: I was kinda getting that impression. This doesn’t bode well at all.
Frank: Hmmm… can you at least see my point, where I’m coming from? Because I think I see your perspective, and I even see the merits of yours.
Bill: Frank, this perspective is just soooooo different. I’m not sure if I can make heads or tails of it.
Frank: Well, the more I think of this impasse, can we both conclude that our systems of orienting ourselves towards the world are both linguistically and logically circular?
Frank: You see, my placard says to drop the placard, which is a self-referential negation. Your placard then says “A = A” which is a self-referential affirmation.
Bill: I would never conclude that!
Frank: Could you just humor me for the sake of argument?
Bill: Well, I suppose.
Frank: You also must admit that the perspective of your placard is quite absurd. And by absurd, I mean not conforming to ordinary ways of thinking.
Bill: Well, A does work in mysterious ways and there certainly are many stories that are pretty off the charts when it comes to following “reasonable” ways of thinking, so in the sense of “a-typical” and “normally unaccounted for,” I’ll say it’s most defiantly absurd.
Frank: As I mentioned, absurdity is not necessarily a bad thing. Next, do you see my point about self-reference in faith? A is true because A is true?
Bill: I disagree fundamentally, but I see how you are forcing my beliefs into that logical formulation.
Frank: Good. Now, it seems to me that each of our systems require self-reference because they are trying to address the individual. “A” without “you” would not be an A worth investigating, would it?
Bill: You have a good point there. If A were not the very core of my being, I would have no reason to celebrate it, like if A were only that which animated some people but not all. Clearly A created everyone and not just some people, so if It was not universal, It would hardly be worth my energy.
Frank: Well, that’s certainly an interesting way to phrase it. So you agree that in general every placard must reference the individual in some way?
Frank: Getting back to absurdity, it seems that in logic, computer programming and the field of artificial intelligence that self-reference makes for a very difficult problem as self-referential systems tend to be wildly absurd. It’s kind of like the statement “this statement is true.”
Bill: But doesn’t that make the statement true?
Frank: Hardly, because there’s nothing to refer the statement too. We tend to think that such things are just self-evident, but the fact of the matter is that they are insanely absurd. Next, take the statement, “This statement is false.” Isn’t that a humdinger?
Bill: So, if the statement is false, that means it isn’t true, which negates its own falseness making it true. But if it’s true, then its true that it is false, so it is also not true. Whoa, my brain hurts.
Frank: Excellent, Bill! The absurdity of the first statement is not so apparent, but the absurdity of the second comes out pretty quickly.
Bill: And how!
Frank: I have the suspicion that these referential statements are at the core of our beliefs. They are in a sense trying to find ways to jettison us beyond this mundane plane of existence…
Bill: …into the kingdom of A?
Frank: Why yes, that’s how it would be said from your perspective. There are other words to describe it from my perspective, but lets stick with your vocabulary for now. If we are trying to talk about some sort of shared space where we can have an honest discussion, it seems to come down to the nature of this absurd, self-referential logic.
Bill: Except that I don’t particularly care for having my belief analyzed so relatively.
Frank: I was just going to say that. Does that not seem to be the logical conclusion that would follow from an affirmative self-referential statement? If “this statement is true” is really to be true, it must be absolutely true. I suppose one way to think about this is that if any noise gets introduced into a self-referential system, the noise tends to quickly get amplified, eventually destroying the initial statement. Therefore, the precision and cleanliness of the truth must be absolutely perfect and incapable of defilement, even retroactively eliminating noise due to its potential for disruption.
Bill: I see where you’re going, but I still don’t care for where this is going.
Frank: Well, let me change topics to the absurdity of my beliefs.
Frank: In my self-referential statement, I claim that “this statement is false,” which is one of two simple ways at referencing the self. The other way is optimistic, absolute and inflexible. The other way seems to be the opposite, except I would not say “pessimistic” buy more “realistic.” Also, although a complete opposite, the absolutism is still there, but it takes on a paradoxical nature. “The only truth is that there is no truth.” “The only thing that is permanent is impermanence.” This is very strange for one not comfortable with them.
Bill: To say the very least…
Frank: Now, when these statements try to address the individual, they do not affirm a narrative. Instead, they attempt to deconstruct the individual in such a way that frees the mind allowing reality in its suchness to be experienced directly.
Bill: Well, your perspective may suggest such orientations, but mine certainly never has.
Frank: Did you know that quite the opposite is true?
Frank: Many sages have come carrying the placard of “A = A,” but quite a few of them realized that they were carrying several placards.
Bill: That seems fundamentally flawed and downright not very A-ish.
Frank: Regardless, these people, under the banner of “A = A” did exactly what my placard reads.
Bill: That doesn’t make any sense at all.
Frank: Well, let me explain. You see, beneath what we think it real, rests Reality, with a big R. This is where the mind, body, the universe and in your case, A merge. I would suggest that this is the kingdom of A itself, where individuals merge with A in this very lifetime.
Bill: Well, once you phrase it that way, it does sound like a familiar story. I once read a book about X. In it, he talked about these weird ideas too.
Frank: Yes, X is a great example. He “begged of A to rid him of all concepts of A.” Which at first seems to be utter blasphemy, but at the core of what he was doing, he was trying to encounter A without leading the way with an idea.
Bill: He was a very brilliant person, but not a saint, so I’m not sure how much we can say he speaks for “A = A.”
Frank: Saint Y then, and her disciple, Saint Z were both amazing thinkers who physically put into practice what X had only stirred about in his mind. The stories that they have left behind are amazing.
Bill: Indeed they are, but we should also note that they were both persecuted by their own orders for the majority of their lives, for what they were doing and thinking threatened the very ground of “A = A.”
Frank: Yes, this is tragic. I would like to see their take on “A = A” become more popular as I think it reveals a depth of the human being that just “A = A” alone does not address.
Bill: Hmmm… what would that look like?
Frank: It would look like this.
Frank reaches over and separates a hidden placard that was stuck to the one in Bill’s hands.
Bill: Holly smokes! I don’t want to hold this! Where did it come from? I don’t want this!
Frank: Why not? Because it’s a threat?
Bill: This is poisonous! I’ll get kicked out of “A = A!”
Frank: But there you sit. As much as you would like to present to others that you are only carrying one placard, the fact of the matter is that you are carrying several. In fact, you are carrying the very placards that the saints followed, so in my opinion, that makes you all the more holy.
Bill: That’s an interesting and very positive way to think about it, but Saint Y and Saint Z were both terribly persecuted by their orders. I don’t want to be persecuted!
Frank: As a matter of fact, if you follow the second card, you will be brought all the more closer to A, so why worry about social persecution? Do you not want to be closer to A? By the way you are acting, it seems that you would much rather stick with social approval rather than with unity with A. So secularism it is then, eh?
Bill: I never thought of it that way before. This is still very unnerving for me.
Frank: Well, let me talk you through it and we’ll see if we can’t get you to realize that this is perfectly natural.
First let me say, that the first person to ever formulate anything along the logical lines of “A = A” was Ω. He didn’t start any actual beliefs that we would place on a placard, but he did popularize a form of logic that influenced just about every belief to follow in his area. Even though we aren’t aware of it, we are all carrying Ω’s placard somewhere in our pile.
Bill: Pile? -gulp-
Frank: Did you know that the logic behind A = A was rigidly formalized by Ω? The funny part is, Ω did his thing hundreds of years before A = A even showed up on the planet. It stands to reason then that if A = A is based overtly on the logic of Ω, either Ω needs to be canonized as a saint, or the logical system that defines A = A needs to be seen as incidental and thus able to be substituted with alternative forms of logic. But as you see, the logic of A = A pretty much only works one way. Which is why both systems of logic need to be used simultaneously.
Bill: I don’t know too much about Ω, but that does make sense. In other words, you’re asking if the logic of Ω is divine or not. Am I correct?
Frank: That’s exactly my point! It seems that this is clearly not the case, so alternative uses of self-referential logic need to be examined within the context of A = A. This may be paradoxical and very contradictory, but I find it exceedingly necessary.
Bill: I must say, I am a bit excited to learn to think like a saint, but I am not at all comfortable putting aside my “A = A” placard.
Frank: You don’t have to. If you ever feel uncomfortable, you can hide the other placard again and go about your business.
Bill: Great! Lets get started.
Bill and Frank are now standing there, each displaying a placard that reads, “Please put down your placard and investigate the physical world and the workings of your mind-body.”
Bill: I must say, I’m feeling a bit uneasy with this experiment.
Frank: Don’t worry! You’re still holding your “A = A” placard, right? You’ve lost nothing! You’re simply investigating the state of consciousness used by the saints. It’s nothing immoral or wrong in any way.
Bill: All right then.
Frank: How does the world look?
Bill: Pretty much the same, except that A is very dim.
Frank: How foolish! You yourself told me A is everywhere, so how can you be unaware of it?
Frank: Remember the expression of X, ask A to rid you of all concepts of A, and see what’s left.
Bill: Right, get rid of concepts.
As Bill begins to relax to better see the world A created, a third card peels off the back of the second.
Bill: Oh no! Another card? I really can’t keep up with this!
Frank: Now you’re doomed! Just kidding, my friend. Aren’t you curious as to what this one reads?
Bill: I don’t know if I can stand to! But I must admit, I am a bit curious.
Bill places his third card on top of his other two. It reads “me = me.”
Frank: Now you’ve done it! Ha, ha! Worry not, friend, this is perfectly normal.
Frank too has the very same card, and moves it to the front of his placard(s).
Frank: You see, discovering the self is a perfectly natural conclusion of self-investigation. It’s really implied in the term.
Bill: How true! I guess I never really thought of that before. It makes sense.
Frank: What did you think “me” was before?
Bill: Well, in the context of A = A, I was always created by A to live and love.
Frank: But isn’t that just an idea of what you are? Surely you are not just an idea?
Bill: But clearly the idea has a referent, which is “me.”
Frank: Good, now you are just investigating the “me” empirically instead of relying upon the ideas of others. Let us then investigate the “me.”
With a look of consternation on his face, Bill examines his “me.” After a short while, the letters fade from his placard, leaving behind blank white. As the letters fade, calmness and tranquility spread across Bill’s face in such a way that Frank has never experienced on his dear friend. As the letters completely evaporate, Bill begins to glow about the head and heart with a faint white light. This lasts for just a moment and Bill breaks into a panic and the letters instantly return to his placard.
Bill: My A! Oh, my A! What beauty! What terror! Such splendor!!!
Bill drops to his knees and begins weeping.
Frank: Tell me what you saw, Bill?
Bill: -sobbing- I saw A, pure as freshly fallen snow. I can’t say how I saw It, not with my eyes, not with my imagination, but there It was! How beautiful!!! Never in a million years would I have imagined such a union possible! I feel all my life prior to this point has been wasted, as if in a dream! What happened to me!? How could you guide me so?
Frank: You see, the secret is that any and all self-referential statements are just not true. They may be true in a sense, but not in the way that we are accustomed to thinking about them. Take for example, “me = me.” What is this “me?” It seems to be the problem that we spend all of our time functioning as an isolated individual, so we just take isolation and individuality for granted. We stumble upon the “me = me” placard and for whatever reason and begin to use it. We have so much success with it that we seldom if not never actually question its reality. What you did was question the “me” to the point where it collapsed. You then experienced consciousness one step closer to Reality, or as you would say it, you experienced yourself as a direct manifestation of A.
Bill: Yes, yes! I see the truth in it!
Frank: Also, you set aside the idea of A = A in exchange for an experience of A.
Bill: So true! I see the truth of A = A, but also the truth of setting aside concepts, as if they must work in unison. I also see the merits of this self-annihilation. “Only when you lose yourself will you really find it.” I get it now! But where has it gone? Why am I still not experiencing A?
Frank: Reality is sadly covered up by concepts, like many deep layers of an onion. Peel off the layers, just as you did, and the core is revealed. A was there all along, you were just hung up on the logic and the whole literalism of it all, which obscured your perceptions.
Bill: Wait now, I still see this literally. In fact, all the more so now! I empirically discovered A!
Frank: As I mentioned before, just as other beliefs are as assured to their absolute supremacy, they too have experiences identical to yours, except that they see B, C or what have you.
Bill: Surely A takes a different form to appease dedicated infidels.
Frank: I see you haven’t changed your mind much… No worries. At least you now know that A is love, instead of just reading it out of a book.
Bill: I most certainly have! I dare say my life has been changed forever. I’ve seen the oneness, I’ve seen the love in all things. I far better understand my place.
Frank: But only in the context of A, right?
Bill: Of course.
Frank: If we look back at X again, he claimed that whatever A was, it was by definition incomplete.
Bill: That’s preposterous.
Frank: X argued that A alone was incomplete because it could not account for “not A” or –A. He argued that only when A and –A were included together could they be taken as an exhaustive whole.
Bill: That doesn’t make any sense at all!
Frank: It doesn’t? If A created everything, there can be nothing that was not created by A, correct?
Bill: Yes, so far.
Frank: X’s concern was that if A created the world out of nothing, then there must have been a nothing that was not A. X was dissatisfied with this pre-creation non A, so he assumed that prior to creation, A must have been both A and –A.
Bill: That’s really a stretch. What’s the point?
Frank: X’s point is exactly what you experienced; that there is an experience of nothingness that allows A to enter. Without this nothing, A will never present itself other than in the form of a thought.
Bill: So, in order to commune with A, you must empty yourself of all things, becoming the original nothingness of the divine?
Frank: Yes! That is exactly the paradox, if you wish for wisdom of the divine, you must wish for nothing. That is nothing as the negation of any concepts but also that you realize that nothingness is your original nature. If A created the world out of nothingness, then you too are naturally a part of this nothing. Just as you experienced A as life and love, you must also experience it as nothing.
Bill: I would like to say that you have clearly lost you mind, but in the light of the experience I had a while back, I believe that you are indeed onto something.
Frank: I’m glad you can recognize this and that you see how nothingness works in the context of A.
Now, I would like to explain how I see the world. We agreed that you see the world as an absurd affirmation, correct? And that I saw it as a negation?
Bill: That sounds familiar, but I do not follow the idea completely.
Frank: Well, as I see it, our entire society is based upon the A = A mentality. It governs our thoughts, logic and religion. For me, I see the negative perspective as one that adds balance to this one. If all there is additional affirmation, does this not force things out of balance? I find that by focusing on maintaining a balance between affirmation and negation, the psyche can find equilibrium.
Bill: That sounds very strange, but I suppose that is because what I think of as “culture” constantly affirms things without trying this “negation” you speak of.
Frank: That’s probably the case. Through negation, I constantly look to escape from ideas, such as A = A, me = me and an infinite number of other such ideas. For you see, if you are not aware that your idea is a constructed tool whose validity is found only in its pragmatism, you are a prisoner to that idea.
Bill: I’m reading between the lines of what you said, and if I were to use your words, I would say that some prisons are actually quite nice. If this world around me as I see it is a prison made just for me by A, then I am happy to live in it.
Frank: Are you not interested in what is outside of this prison?
Bill: If A made it just for me, then there must be a reason for it. Besides, it has done incredible things for our civilization.
Frank: It has also done some unspeakably awful things too that often get swept under the rug.
Bill: A’s will is tricky to decipher and is often conflated with the will of men who use A’s awesomeness for their own good.
Frank: I’m not sure how you can keep this all straight in your head. The vast number of moral contradictions leave me breathless! Also, much like watching the NFL, how can you keep cheering when, so to speak, A is losing? It’s like looking back at a particularly bleak period in a team’s past and still believing they were the best team in the league at that time. The way I see it, sometimes a team is just awful!
Bill: To imply that A is sometimes awful is offensive. We just do not understand Its intentions or methods.
Frank: Ah, I digress. I was getting to nothingness. As I was saying, a world exists beyond all thought, beyond all ideas and beyond all of the bad things that go along with it. The way I see it, this cuts right to the chase to address human nature at its source. It seems that attachment to ideas is what causes the most problems for us.
Bill: There is much truth in that. Before today, I will admit I was attached to the idea of A. I would defend it with my life if need be. But now that I woke up a little, I see that the Reality behind the idea exists regardless of if I believe it. Something that real isn’t worth fighting over at all.
Frank: It pleases me to no end to hear you say that. For me, I like to let go of concepts so that I don’t have to be caught up in them.
Bill: Wait a minute. What kind of placard do you carry? How can you even orient yourself like this without a placard? Everyone needs one of some sort!
Frank: I’m glad you noticed this, for I do have a placard. I’ll show it to you, and now that we’ve had this conversation, I think you may actually understand it.
Bill: Thank you. Please do show it to me.
Frank shuffles his placards around and places one on top which reads, “A = -A, thus it is A.”
Bill: At first glance, that tends to give me a headache. But, just as you said, there does seem to be some truth to it. I don’t think I can articulate it. Please go on and explain it to me.
Frank: The characters are similar to yours, but the A is interchangeable with every last system imaginable. As I mentioned in the case of X, A only exists when its opposite exists. For example, could you have a coffee cup if there were no such thing as coffee?
Bill: Why that would be silly.
Frank: Along the same line of reasoning, there could be no up without down, no now without then, no here without there? A = -A, thus it is A accounts for the interconnection of all things and things are most assuredly interconnected. Can you imagine a person without a society?
Bill: Why, such a person would have little better wits than a dog or a monkey!
Frank: Right! We owe everything we have to what we are not. Thus, it stands to reason that what we are is what we are not. In other words, me = -me, thus I am me. This really broadens the definition of “me” beyond its original use.
Bill: This idea seems quite unwieldy and overly complicated! Besides, it is certainly absurd to think that you are anything but yourself.
Frank: It’s a lot easier than you think! It just takes dedication, a great deal of mindfulness and a recognition that intellectual attachments are intrinsically flawed. Concerning this “me,” is it not just a concept? We’re not just talking about the physical body, but the entire mental and emotional makeup of the individual. I think this is far more complicated than anyone can explain with a concept.
Bill: I can’t articulate it, but I see what you are getting at. It’s just that I really don’t care to nor do I see the need to step beyond A = A. It seems too perfect to me.
Frank: That’s your call, my friend. Thanks for this little chat. I think I understand where you are coming from, and I hope you can understand me a little more.
Bill: Yes, thank you! What you taught me was invaluable. I see that even within the history of my beliefs that there were those who overcame the logical confine of A =A to see first hand what was beneath. Or, as you would say, they saw exactly what they were looking for. And I also see that some beliefs are dedicated to the overcoming of all concepts, even the concept of A. Do you really not see A when you have these experiences?
Frank: Bill, what I see cannot be captured with words. But if I subscribed to A = A, I may be inclined to answer in the affirmative although that would destroy what I was trying to get across. The exact same thing would also be true if I subscribed to B, C, D, etc. I just think whatever Reality is, A, B & C are just approximations of what it is. Also, I have not yet heard of any argument that can absolutely reduce the system to only one over and above all the others. I’ll keep attentive for such proof if it arises. Concerning what I see, as I see it, A is both A and –A, but language only focuses on the positive, so any words devoted to it ruin it. It’s tragic that more do not see this truth, but I think some people may be coming around.
Bill: Frank, rest assured, I see what you mean. I’m just not sure it is wise to abandon A’s teachings so completely, even though you think that it is just one teaching of many.
Frank: At least you know where you stand. Farewell friend.
Bill: Take care, Frank.