L’INDIFFERENCE D’OISEAUX / THE INDIFFERENCE OF BIRDS VII

 

l'indifférence d'oiseaux

(Click to enlarge.)

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We have arrived at the central theme that I take away from this “doodle”, though I do not presume that it was the artist’s or that he had any intentional theme at all. I reflect upon what happened as I see it, not on intended meanings.
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This theme is that there is a hope that is not-hope in the conventional sense, and it is only this hope that can truly energize us to fully engage in the life experience, both personal and social, without a subconscious enervating despair. The everyday hope of humanity is a hope for something. It has an object. And when that object is not realized hope is disappointed, and in things of great significance, this results in despair. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is the tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). The Bible got it at least half right. But then the Bible is all about false hopes. False hope is that which generates it’s opposite, despair. (Just as belief generates doubt.) And why do we hope? Because we are in despair.
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This simultaneous generation of opposites is used by Zhuangzi to suggest another, higher perspective that both transcends and embraces them. Can we both hope and despair while remaining ever hopeful? If we can, then we will have a kind of not-hope that laughs at and wanders in both hope and despair even as we experience them—and we most certainly will. There is logic in this. Opposites not only generate each other, they also cancel out each other. Hope is already despair and despair is already hope. Is there really then either hope or despair? If not, can we not then unite them to form a oneness, a hope of not-hope that depends on nothing? But why a hope that is not-hope and not a despair that is not-despair? Because though they are the same, hope connotes the affirmation of life, and life is that affirming.
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It is not desire fulfilled that is “the tree of life”, but hope—ceaseless, non-contingent affirmation. Life is hope. Hope is the fruit of the tree of life, a tree rooted in Mystery and thus no purveyor of false hopes.

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