Sunday, August 9, 2009

As Nerdy A Post As You're Ever Likely To Read

My Wife's cousin Alan sent me the following article---

The Japanese Word, Mu
by Robert Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig Pictures, Images and Photos

Yes and no.This or that.One or zero. In the basis of this
elementary two-term discrimination, all human knowledge is
built up. The demonstration of this is the computer memory
that stores all knowledge in the form of binary
information. It contains ones and zeroes, that's all.

Because we're unaccustomed to it, we don't usually see
that there's a third possible logical term equal to yes
and no which is capable of our understanding in an
unrecognized direction. We don't even have term for it, so
I'll have to use the Japanese mu.

Mu means "no thing." Like "quality" it points outside the
process of dualistic discrimination. Mu simply says, "no
class: not one, not zero, not yes, not no." It states that
the context of the question is such that a yes and a no
answer is in error and should not be given. "Unask the
question" is what it says.

Mu becomes appropriate when the context of the question
becomes too small for the truth of the answer. When the
Zen monk was asked whether a dog had Buddha nature he said
"Mu," meaning that if he answered either way he was
answering incorrectly. The Buddha nature cannot be
captured by yes or no questions.

That Mu exists in the natural world investigated by
science is evident. The dualistic mind tends to think
of Mu occurrences in nature as a kind of contextual
cheating, or irrelevance, but Mu is found through all
scientific investigation, and nature doesn't cheat, and
nature's answers are never irrelevant. It's a great
mistake, a kind of dishonesty to sweep nature's Mu
answers under the carpet.

When your answer to a test is indeterminate it means one
of two things: that your test procedures aren't doing what
you think they are or that your understanding of the
context of the question needs to be enlarged. Check your
tests and restudy the question. Don't throw away those Mu
answers! They're every bit as vital as the yes and no
answers. They're more vital. They're the ones you grow on.

--Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

robert pirsig Pictures, Images and Photos