Friday, August 31, 2012

the walled (and enchanted) garden of Tao

Hakim Sanai - Hakim Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanā'ī Ghaznavi (حکیم ابوالمجد مجدود ‌بن آدم سنایی غزنوی‎), lived in Ghazna, today's Afghanistan, between the 11th and the 12th century, died around 1131, is acknowledged as one of the major Sufi poets, the mystical-spiritual tradition of research developed within Islam orthodoxy. Among his writings The Hadiqat al Haqiqa, Hadiquatu'l Haqiquat, Hadiqat al-Haqiqa wa Shari'at al-Tariqa, Al Hadiqa in brief, is the most known for the 1974 english translation, and recognized as his masterpiece. His writings later inspired other Sufi mystics, especially Attar - Farīd al-Dīn ʿAttār - in the 12-13th century and Rumi - Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī - in the 13th century. Together are regarded as the three greatest Masters of the Sufi tradition.
The story tells that Sanai accompanied as court poet the Sultan of Ghazna,  Ghaznavid Bahram-shah, in a military expedition to India, where he met the Sufi mystic Lai-Khur. The title of "Walled garden of Truth" comes from a double meaning in persian: the term "walled garden" is the same for Paradise, but also is in a walled garden that Lai-Khur taught to Sanai the truth toward the path of Wisdom.
Similarly to other middle and far east texts of several traditions, Al Hadiqa exposes - in the form of poetic text - the fundamental characteristics of a sacred experience: the disjunction between the divine and the mind, the disappearance of the Self as necessary condition for the appearance of Truth, the overcoming of the Duality toward Unity. 

  The walled Garden of Truth

We tried reasoning
our way to Him:
it did not work;
but the moment we gave up,
no obstacle remained.

He introduced himself to us
out of kindness: how else
could we have known him?
Reason took us as far as the door;
but it was his presence that let us in.
But how will you ever know him,
as long as you are unable
to know yourself?
Once one is one,
no more, no less:
error begins with duality;
unity knows no error.
The road your self must journey on
lies in polishing the heart.
It is not by rebellion and discord
that the heart's mirror is polished free
of the rust of hypocrisy and unbelief:
your mirror is polished by your certitude -
by the unalloyed purity of your faith.
Break free
from your chains you have forged about yourself;
for you will be free when you are free of clay.
The body is dark - the heart is shining bright;
the body is mere compost - the heart a blooming garden.
He doesn't know his own self:
how should he know the self of another?
He knows only his hands and feet,
how should he know about God?
This is beyond the sage's grasp:
you must be a fool
if you think that you know it.
When you can expound on this,
you will know the pure essence of faith;
till then,
what have faith and you in common?
It is better to be silent
then to talk nonsense
like one of the learned;
faith is not woven
into every garment.
You were made for work:
a robe of honor awaits you.
How is it that you are satisfied
with mere rags?
How will you ever have riches
if you are idle sixty days a month?
Knowing what you know,
be serene also, like the mountain;
and do not be distressed by misfortune.
Knowledge without serenity is an unlit candle;
together they are honey-comb;
honey without wax is a noble thing;
wax without honey is only fit for burning.
Leave this abode
of birth and decay;
leave this pit,
and make for your destined home.
This heap of dust is mirage,
where fire seems like water.
The pure man unites
two in one;
the lover unites
three in one.
But I am frightened
lest your ignorance and stupidity
leave you stranded on the bridge.
He is the provider
of both faith and worldly goods;
he is none other
than the disposer of our lives.
He is no tyrant:
for everything he takes,
he gives back seventy-fold;
and if he closes one door
he opens ten others for you.
He treasures you more
than you do yourself.
Rise, have done with fairy tales;
leave your base passions,
and come to me.
You have to realize
that it is his guidance
that keeps you on the path
and not your own strength
A Ruby there is just a piece of stone:
and spiritual excellence the height of folly.
Silence is praise - have done with speech;
your chatter will only bring you harm and sorrow -
have done!
Belief and unbelief
both have their origin
in your hypocryte's heart;
the way is long only
because you delay to start on it;
one single step
would bring you to him:
become a slave,
and you will become a king.
The dumb find tongues,
when the scent of life reaches them
from his soul
Listen truly - and don't be fooled -
this is not for fools:
all these different shades
become one color
in the jar of unity;
the rope becomes slender
when reduced to a single strand.
Your intellect is just hotchpotch
of guesswork and thought,
limping over the face of the earth;
wherever they are, he is not;
they are contained within his creation.
Man and his reason are just the latest
ripening plants in his garden.
Whatever you assert about his nature
you are bound to be out of your depth,
like a blind man trying to describe
the appearance of his mother.
While reason is still tracking down the secret,
you end your quest on the open field of love.
The path consists in neither words nor deeds:
only desolation can come from these,
and never any lasting edifice.
Sweetness and life are the words
of the man who threads this path in silence;
when he speaks it is not from ignorance,
and when he is silent it is not from sloth.
For the wise man
evil and good
are both exceeding good.
No evil ever comes from God;
whenever you think to see
evil proceeding from him,
you were better to look on it
as good.
I'm afraid that on the way of faith,
you are like a squinter seeing double,
or a fool quarreling with the shape of a camel.
If he gives you poison, deem it honey;
and if he shows you anger, deem it mercy.
Be contented with your lot;
but if you have any complaints,
go and take them to the Cadi,
and obtain satisfaction from him.
That's how the fool's mind works!
Whatever befalls you, misfortune or fortune,
is unalloyed blessing;
the attendant evil
a fleeing shadow.
'Good' and 'evil' have no meaning
in the world of the Word:
they are names, coined
in the world of 'me' and 'you'.
Your life is just morsel in his mouth;
his feast is both wedding and a wake.
Why should darkness grieve the heart?
- for night is pregnant with new day.
You say you've unrolled the carpet of time,
step then beyond life itself and reason,
till you arrive at God's command.
You cannot see anything, being blind by night,
and by day one-eyed with your foolish wisdom!
My friend, everything existing
exists through him;
your own existence is a mere pretense.
No more nonsense! Lose yourself,
and the hell of your heart becomes a heaven.
Lose yourself, and anything can be accomplished.
Your selfishness is an untrained colt.
You are what you are:
hence your loves and hates;
you are what you are:
hence faith and unbelief.
Hope and fear drive fortune from your door;
lose yourself, and they will be no more.
At his door, what is the difference
between Moslem and Christian,
virtuous and guilty?
At his door all are seekers
and he the sought.
God is without cause:
why are you looking for causes?
The sun of truth rises unbidden,
and with it sets the moon of learning.
In this halt of just a week,
to be is not to be,
and to come is to go.
And does the sun exist
for the cock to crow at?
What is it to him
whether you are there or not?
Many have come, just like you,
to his door.
You won't find your way
in this street; if there is a way,
it is on your road of sighs.
All of you are far
from the road of devotion:
sometimes you are virtuous,
sometimes you are wicked:
so you hope for yourselves, fear for yourselves;
but when your mask of wisdom and folly
at last turns white, you will see
that hope and fear are one.
If you know your own worth,
what need you care about
the acceptance or rejection of others?
Worship him as if you could see him with your physical eyes;
though you don't see him,
he sees you.
Whilst in this land
of fruitless pursuits,
you are always unbalanced, always
either all back or all front;
but once the seeking soul has progressed
just a few paces beyond this state,
love seizes the reins.
The coming of death
is the key which unlocks
the unknown domain;
but for death, the door of true faith
would remain unopened,
If you yourself
are upside down in reality,
then your wisdom and faith
are bound to be topsy-turvy.
Stop weaving a net about yourself:
burst like a lion from the cage.
Melt yourself down in his search:
venture your life and your soul
in the path of sincerity;
strive to pass from nothingness to being,
and make yourself drunk with the wine of God.
From Him forgiveness comes so fast,
it reaches us before repentance
has even taken shape on our lips.
He is your shepherd,
and you prefer the wolf;
he invites you to him,
and yet you stay unfed;
he gives you his protection,
yet you are sound asleep:
Oh, well done,
you senseless upstart fool!
He heals our nature from within,
kinder to us than we ourselves are.
A mother does not love her child
with half the love that he bestows.
You have broken faith,
yet still he keeps his faith with you:
he is truer to you
than you are to yourself,
He created your mental powers;
yet his knowledge is innocent
of the passage of thought.
He knows what is in your heart;
or he made your heart along with your clay;
but if you think that he knows
in the same way that you do,
then you are stuck like a donkey
in your own mud.
In His presence,silence is the gift of tongues.
He knows the touch
of an ant's foot
moving in darkness
over a rock.
He always knows
what is in men's minds:
you would do well
to reflect on this.
Love's conqueror is he
whom love conquers.
Apply yourself, hand and foot,
to the search;
but when you reach the sea,
stop talking of the stream.
When he admits you to his presence
ask from him nothing other than himself,
When he has chosen you for a friend,
you have seen that there is to see.
There's no duality in the world of love
what's all this talk of 'you' and 'me'?
How can you fill a cup that's full already?
Bring all of yourself to his door:
bring only a part
and you've brought nothing at all.
It's your own self defining faith and unbelief:
inevitably it colors your perception.
Eternity knows nothing
of belief or unbelief;
for a pure nature
there is no such thing.
And if, my friend, you ask me the way
I'll tell you plainly, it is this:
to turn your face towards the world of life,
and turn your back on rank and reputation;
and, spurning outward prosperity, to bend
your back double in his service;
to part company with those who deal in words,
and take your place in the presence of the worldless.
The way is not far
from you to a friend:you yourself are that way:
so set out along it.
You who know nothing of the life
that comes from the juice of the grape,
how long will you remain intoxicated
by the outward form of the grape?
Why do you lie that you are drunk?
How can you go forward?
There is no place to go;
how will you leap?
You have no foot.

Not one knows how far it is
from nothingness to God.
As long as you cling to your self
you will wander right and left,
day and night, for thousands of years;
and when, after all that effort,
you finally open your eyes,
you will see your self, through inherent defects,
wandering around itself like the ox on the mill;
but, if, once freed from your self,
you finally get down to work,
this door will open to you within two minutes.
God will not be yours,
as long as you cling to soul and life:
you cannot have both this and that.
Bruise your self for months and years on end;
leave it for dead, and when you have done with it,
you will have reached eternal life.
Remain unmoved by hope and fear.
To non-existence mosque and church are one;
to a shadow, heaven and hell likewise.
For someone whose guide is love,
belief and disbelief are equally a veil,
concealing the doorway of the friend;
his very being is a veil
which hides God's essence.
Until you throw your sword way,
you'll not become a shield
untill you lay your crown aside,
you'll not be fit to lead.
The death oif soul
is the destruction of life;
buth death of life
is the soul's salvation.
Never stand still on the path
become non-existent.
Non-existent even to the notion
of becoming non-existent.
And when you have abandoned both
individuality and understanding,
the world will become that.
When the eye is pure
it sees purity.
Unself yourself...
until you see your self as a speck of dust
you cannot possibly reach that place;
self could never breathe that air,
so wend your way there without self

lenticular Tao

Lenticular cloud view from the International Space Station

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

introduction to Tao Logical Level 3 and beyond

M.C. Escher, Horsemen, 1946.
After the first (the beginning of this blog) and the second (the transition from inorganic to the organic life levels), the third quantum leap concerns terms such as:

co-(n)science     awareness         experience       god       Self   sacred     sacrament     aesthetics     moral          beauty        truth       existence     art    justice     values

and their synonyms and opposites.
Each of these terms cannot be considered purely of description, neither of meta-description (description of descriptions), since they describe either the referenced object and the subject which is describing. They can be considered terms at the boundary between logical level 2 of meta-description and 3 of meta-meta-description and - as such - they are not objectively definable; at this level the only possible verbal description are tales, poems, stories, witnesses of experiences, parables, metaphors and, ultimately, silence.

The territory indicated by these terms is entirely modelled by the principle of subjectivity, a region where:
No Place so Sacred from such Fops is barr'd,
Nor is Paul's Church more safe than Paul's Church-yard:
Nay, fly to Altars; there they'll talk you dead;
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.
Distrustful Sense with modest Caution speaks;
It still looks home, and short Excursions makes;
But ratling Nonsense in full Vollies breaks;
And never shock'd, and never turn'd aside,
Bursts out, resistless, with a thundering Tyde!

Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 1709

In the description process by a subject (the describer) of an object (the described) there are two types of relations (the description): the first - that commonly understood - of the description of the described by the describer, the second (since - generally - the object cannot describe the subject, unless it is another subject) the description of the subject which describes the object.
Description system within a specified context: the two opposite poles white and black are the describing subject and the described object; the two opposite processes are the description of the object and the description of the describing subject.
In this recursive process the subject the subject "shape" the described object exactly as the described object "shape" the describing subject.
The first process is the one commonly intended as "description": millions of texts, encyclopedic entries, videos, films etc. are its representation. It is to be noted that the description of a specific object may change, either because the subject changes, and because the interpretation of the object may be different. For example, the description of a diamond is very different if made by a solid-state physicist, a geologist, a gemologist, a jeweler or by the buyer, although the physical object is always the same. Also, the description depends on the state of consciousness of the subject: a subject in "normal" conditions, drunk or under the influence of drugs may give very different descriptions of the same object.
The "objective" description for excellence is the scientific one, based on the fact that, using the same method under the same conditions, different observers always obtain the same data; but, at the next level, the one of data interpretation to formulate a theory or to verify an hypothesis, the subjective component becomes evident - in fact in several fields different or opposite theories coexist based upon the same "objective" data. Furthermore, if till the knowledge domains level represented by physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, physiology and engineering the object of description has an its own physical materiality (but not its interpretation which - evidently- is purely mental), at next and nearby levels as cognitive sciences, sociology, psychology, anthropology and so on to end with philosophy, the object of the description is purely conceptual/mental and not physical, and often even the definition of what a certain discipline is and should describe is a matter of interpretation. The ultimate paradox occurs, naturally, when object and subject coincide, as in the case of the sciences of the mind, where entities like higher metal functions , cognition, consciousness, the "I" and the "self" are purely subjective.
The second process is referred to the fact that a description, generally, does not carry information or is neutral if it is not specified who is describing, and in which context. A relevant example are the descriptions, statements, interpretations, opinions, discussions, debates, surveys and so by the media, which give - generally minimally - information on facts and events and - in a greater way - information about themselves.
Through a description that a subject make of an object therefore one get information both on the describing subject as well on the described object, in a variable way between the two and linked to the description context.
As illustrated in the specific case of a cell, the description typology in addition to follow the hierarchy of systems and knowledge domains, also follows a map categorization according to the logical level at which description is made, with a transition between the two objective and subjective principles of description:
Logical levels of description.
Similarly, the logical categorization may be divided between the "external" object and the "internal" subject, where the first may be divided in the hierarchical structure of knowledge domains:
Logical levels of description for "objective" and "subjective" hierarchical levels.
At logical level 0 is placed the object or the subject of the description, the described, depending on whether the observation is turned externally or internally to the describer. At this level there are data and events processable by the scientific method, the activities-actions of the body-mind and the perceived data. This level lies entirely under the objectivity principle, and in western cultures, dominated by four centuries of science, is the one that commonly is intended as "reality".
At logical level 1 takes place the description of the described from a describing; as such it is represented by - literally - millions of books, papers, encyclopedic entries that in history have described the knowledge of the external and internal worlds. According to the subjectivity principle and the scientific method the specification "on the part of a describer" is obvious and redundant: if the description is valid, according to the scientific methods, then all the describers give the same description - but not necessarily the same interpretation -. This is the level typical of the scientific description of the "external world" in terms of organized data with meaning with theories, with terms like time, space, energy, form, structure, system, element, process, learning, evolution, local and global. Since postwar the tradition of first and second cybernetics in the field of general system theory, merged in today science of complexity, has noted that the term "on the part of a describer" is instead essential in the epistemology of scientific description, as already noted in quantum and relativistic physics. At this level, for the subjective "internal world", belong the structures of perception and the body-mind results of cerebral activities, like thoughts, reasonings, imaginations, emotions and feelings.
The logical level of meta-description is related to meta-models of complexity, as synergetic for physics,  dissipative structures theory for chemistry, the SOP meta-model and the concept of autopoiesis for biology. Epistemology, ontology, ontogenesis, philogenesis, emergence, cognition, organization, Pattern which Connects and 2nd order cybernetics are meta-terms of description which belong to this territory, according to Bateson's statement that, when one talks of complex systems - as living entities and their aggregates with related emergent phenomenawe should "follow the example of the entities about which we are talking": "It follows that when we talk about living entities, statements ... should always be labeled by reference to some descriptive proposition ...". " ... we shall see later, that every descriptive proposition is to be characterized according to logical typing of subject, predicate, and context." Also the structure of perception, considered, for example, in its complexity of body-mind-emotions interaction, is referred at this level:
The complexity of perception; from C.T. Tart, States of Consciousness.
The logical level 3 of meta-meta-description describe the territory generically named of the consciousness, to which the previous introduced terms belong where the description describes itself and the describer.
The description modalities of this territory are well expressed by a Bateson's story:

There's a story which I have used before... A man wanted to know about mind, not in nature, but in his computer. He asked (surely in his more polished Fortran):
'Will you ever think like a human being?' The machine then analyzed its own computational habits. Finally, it printed its answer on a piece of paper, as such machines do. The man ran to get the answer and found, neatly typed, the words
Mind and Nature, 1979

The human consciousness and the selfconsciousness is one of the key emergent and self-referential phenomena, which integrates in a subjective way objective physical issues of matter, time, space, energy with awareness and the whole of life experience:
Emergence of human consciousness; from C.T. Tart, States of Consciousness.
The guidelines of Global Dynamics Processes and Pattern that Connects will be continued based on the works and experiences of those, with extremely fear, have tried to travel and describe those essential territories   to which - for the mere fact of living - we belong.

Besides, beyond logical level 3, a series of witnesses and experiences and of models coming from various traditions commonly categorized as "sacred" - mainly eastern - indicate further territories of experience and observation beyond consciousness, and - as a matter of fact - beyond language, where the duality subject/object becomes again unitary. The boundary between logical level 3 and higher is the one defined by propositions 6.5, 7 of Tractatus, which state that if a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered, and answered correctly, whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. The witnesses of those who went forward and travelled these territories are in fact almost always expressed by silence; practices are instead indicated to reach and to know how to travel those territories, on the base that only a personal and individual  experience may led to knowledge, inexpressible in words. In this, advanced western science practices and those of eastern  inner knowledge are not so unlike, as noted by F. Capra:
“The parallel between scientific experiments and mystical experiences may seem surprising in view of the very different nature of these acts of observation. Physicists perform experiments involving an elaborate teamwork and a highly sophisticated technology, whereas mystics obtain their knowledge through introspection, without any machinery, in the privacy of meditation. Scientific experiments, furthermore, seem to be repeatable any time and by anybody, whereas
mystical experiences seem to be reserved for a few individuals at special occasions. A closer examination shows, however, that the differences between the two kinds of observation lie only in their approach and not in their reliability or complexity.
Anybody who wants to repeat an experiment in modern subatomic physics has to undergo many years of training. Only then will he or she be able to ask nature a specific question through the experiment and to understand the answer.
Similarly, a deep mystical experience requires, generally, many years of training under an experienced master and, as in the scientific training, the dedicated time does not alone guarantee success. If the student is successful, however, he or she will be able to ‘repeat the experiment’. The repeatability of the experience is, in fact, essential to every mystical training and is the very aim of the mystics’ spiritual instruction.”
For example in this territory there is the transition from the level 2 "mind", considered as the whole of cerebral processes and psychic functions, to the "Mind" of level 3, intended as "mind which observes the mind" and as immanent mind in a wider system then individual, to the "no-Mind", considered as a non-mental entity which observes, perceives and experiences the whole of the Mind. 
The experiences witnessed about the knowledge of these territories definable as "beyond consciousness" indicate how even the principle of subjectivity is exceeded, entering in "worlds" of perception and experience not only unknown, but even unknowable, totally aliens.