Върнах се при Зен и Изкуството да поддържаш мотоциклет. Искам да имам време и спокойствие да я чета всеки ден, така че да не забравям шътокуата от предишния.
Когато се опитвам да накарам някой ученик да си отвори очите и не успявам, мога ли да се успокоя с обяснението, че очите му са всъщност отворени, но вижда нещата по различен начин? Струва ми се, че НЕ 😦 “Проявяваш ли упоритост, започваш да се дразниш, без да знаеш защо”. ОК, може и да си прав, а другият крив, може да си наясно, че си прав, а той не е; може да си изпълнен с добри намерения, но май трябва да приемеш, че не разполагаш със сила, която може да го накара да погледне на нещата по друг начин. Може да не е невъзможно да му отвориш очите (вярвам, че не е), но е възможно ти да не знаеш как 😛 Ето това трябва да приемеш – че не си всезнаещ, а оттам и всесилен. Да, може да си най-добрият човек на света, че и с най-отворените очи, но трябва да се научиш на смирение 🙂 ОК, разбирам фрустрацията ти.
Много би искал да промениш нещата, дори теоретично си наясно как, но … не можеш да го направиш на практика – не защото не искаш, ами защото не всичко зависи от теб. Има неща, за които е нужно да си мръднат пръста и други хора… има и неща, които зависят от природните закони, които кой знае защо в този момент не работят в твоя полза (или така ти се струва). Още един урок по смирение – не си самодостатъчен, поне не и докато искаш да въздействаш на средата. If there is a will, there is a way (Ако има воля, има и начин) би казал някой западен Тигър. И така … стигнахме до Пътя.
Искаш да правиш добро, а светът ти пречи. Какво да правиш тогава? “Не исках да правя зло, а и не виждах възможност да правя добро” И тогава? Ако в достъпния материален свят не виждаш възможност, означава ли това, че ти нямаш възможност? Ако се огледаш наоколо, сигурна съм, че ще намериш поне едно нещо, което да се нуждае от твоята любов, доброта, компетентност … сетих се за оня френски дядо, който създал дъбова гора като засаждал жълъди. И все пак, ако не виждаш никакви възможности за полезно действие?
Хей, защо трябва непременно да въздействаш върху средата за да направиш света по-добър? Ти нали си част oт света? Защо не въздействаш на себе си? Или искаш да кажеш, че си съвършен? Ако вярваш в това, започваш да ставаш self–righteous („аз съм прав, а хората криви“ е най-близкият превод) и да презираш хората.
Може би не е чак толкова лоша идея да си лежиш в леглото и да четеш книга и да пишеш в дневника си. По този начин, ако не правиш добро (в което се съмнявам), поне не правиш зло, излизайки навън да размахваш пръст и да раздаваш правосъдие.
следва глава # 5 от книгата (част):
The flatness of the prairie disappears and a deep undulation of the
earth begins. Fences are rarer, and the greenness has become paler –
all signs that we approach the High Plains.
We stop for gas at Hague and ask if there is any way to get across the
Missouri between Bismarck and Mobridge. The attendant doesn’t know of
any. It is hot now, and John and Sylvia go somewhere to get their long
underwear off. The motorcycle gets a change of oil and chain lubrication.
Chris watches everything I do but with some impatience. Not a good sign.
„My eyes hurt,“ he says.
„From the wind.“
„We’ll look for some goggles.“
All of us go in a shop for coffee and rolls. Everything is different except one
another, so we look around rather than talk, catching fragments of
conversation among people who seem to know each other and are glancing
at us because we’re new. Afterward, down the street, I find a thermometer
for storage in the saddlebags and some plastic goggles for Chris.
The hardware man doesn’t know any short route across the Missouri either.
John and I study the map. I had hoped we might find an unofficial ferryboat
crossing or footbridge or something in the ninety-mile stretch, but evidently
there isn’t any because there’s not much to get to on the other side. It’s all
Indian reservation. We decide to head south to Mobridge and cross there.
The road south is awful. Choppy, narrow, bumpy concrete with a bad head
wind, going into the sun and big semis going the other way. These rollercoaster
hills speed them up on the down side and slow them up on the up
side and prevent our seeing very far ahead, making passing nervewracking.
The first one gave me a scare because I wasn’t ready for it. Now I hold tight
and brace for them. No danger. Just a shock wave that hits you. It is hotter
At Herreid John disappears for a drink while Sylvia and Chris and I find
some shade in a park and try to rest. It isn’t restful. A change has taken place
and I don’t know quite what it is. The streets of this town are broad, much
broader than they need be, and there is a pallor of dust in the air. Empty lots
here and there between the buildings have weeds growing in them. The
sheet metal equipment sheds and water tower are like those of previous
towns but more spread out. Everything is more run-down and mechanicallooking,
and sort of randomly located. Gradually I see what it is. Nobody is
concerned anymore about tidily conserving space. The land isn’t valuable
anymore. We are in a Western town.
We have lunch of hamburgers and malteds at an A & W place in Mobridge,
cruise down a heavily trafficked main street and then there it is, at the
bottom of the hill, the Missouri. All that moving water is strange, banked by
grass hills that hardly get any water at all. I turn around and glance at Chris
but he doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in it.
We coast down the hill, clunk onto the bridge and across we go, watching
the river through the girders moving by rhythmically, and then we are on the
We climb a long, long hill into another kind of country.
The fences are really all gone now. No brush, no trees. The sweep of the
hills is so great John’s motorcycle looks like an ant up ahead moving through
the green slopes. Above the slopes outcroppings of rocks stand out
overhead at the tops of the bluffs.
It all has a natural tidiness. If it were abandoned land there would be a
chewed-up, scruffy look, with chunks of old foundation concrete, scraps of
painted sheet metal and wire, weeds that had gotten in where the sod was
broken up for whatever little enterprise was attempted. None of that here.
Not kept up, just never messed up in the first place. It’s just the way it
always must have been. Reservation land.
There’s no friendly motorcycle mechanic on the other side of those rocks
and I’m wondering if we’re ready for this. If anything goes wrong now we’re
in real trouble.
I check the engine temperature with my hand. It’s reassuringly cool. I put in
the clutch and let it coast for a second in order to hear it idling. Something
sounds funny and I do it again. It takes a while to figure out that it’s not the
engine at all. There’s an echo from the bluff ahead that lingers after the
throttle is closed. Funny. I do this two or three times. Chris wonders what’s
wrong and I have him listen to the echo. No comment from him.
This old engine has a nickels-and-dimes sound to it. As if there were a lot of
loose change flying around inside. Sounds awful, but it’s just normal valve
clatter. Once you get used to that sound and learn to expect it, you
automatically hear any difference. If you don’t hear any, that’s good.
I tried to get John interested in that sound once but it was hopeless. All he
heard was noise and all he saw was the machine and me with greasy tools in
my hands, nothing else. That didn’t work.
He didn’t really see what was going on and was not interested enough to
find out. He isn’t so interested in what things mean as in what they are.
That’s quite important, that he sees things this way. It took me a long time
to see this difference and it’s important for the Chautauqua that I make this
I was so baffled by his refusal even to think about any mechanical subject I
kept searching for ways to clue him to the whole thing but didn’t know
where to start.
I thought I would wait until something went wrong with his machine and
then I would help him fix it and that way get him into it, but I goofed that
one myself because I didn’t understand this difference in the way he looked
His handlebars had started slipping. Not badly, he said, just a little when you
shoved hard on them. I warned him not to use his adjustable wrench on the
tightening nuts. It was likely to damage the chrome and start small rust
spots. He agreed to use my metric sockets and box-ends.
When he brought his motorcycle over I got my wrenches out but then
noticed that no amount of tightening would stop the slippage, because the
ends of the collars were pinched shut.
„You’re going to have to shim those out,“ I said.
„It’s a thin, flat strip of metal. You just slip it around the handlebar under
the collar there and it will open up the collar to where you can tighten it
again. You use shims like that to make adjustments in all kinds of machines.“
„Oh,“ he said. He was getting interested. „Good. Where do you buy them?“
„I’ve got some right here,“ I said gleefully, holding up a can of beer in my
He didn’t understand for a moment. Then he said, „What, the can?“
„Sure,“ I said, „best shim stock in the world.“
I thought this was pretty clever myself. Save him a trip to God knows where
to get shim stock. Save him time. Save him money.
But to my surprise he didn’t see the cleverness of this at all. In fact he got
noticeably haughty about the whole thing. Pretty soon he was dodging and
filling with all kinds of excuses and, before I realized what his real attitude
was, we had decided not to fix the handlebars after all.
As far as I know those handlebars are still loose. And I believe now that he
was actually offended at the time. I had had the nerve to propose repair of
his new eighteen-hundred dollar BMW, the pride of a half-century of
German mechanical finesse, with a piece of old beer can!
Ach, du lieber!
Since then we have had very few conversations about motorcycle
maintenance. None, now that I think of it.
You push it any further and suddenly you are angry, without knowing why.
I should say, to explain this, that beer-can aluminum is soft and sticky, as
metals go. Perfect for the application. Aluminum doesn’t oxidize in wet
weather…or, more precisely, it always has a thin layer of oxide that prevents
any further oxidation. Also perfect.
In other words, any true German mechanic, with a half-century of
mechanical finesse behind him, would have concluded that this particular
solution to this particular technical problem was perfect.
For a while I thought what I should have done was sneak over to the
workbench, cut a shim from the beer can, remove the printing and then
come back and tell him we were in luck, it was the last one I had, specially
imported from Germany. That would have done it. A special shim from the
private stock of Baron Alfred Krupp, who had to sell it at a great sacrifice.
Then he would have gone gaga over it.
That Krupp’s-private-shim fantasy gratified me for a while, but then it wore
off and I saw it was just being vindictive. In its place grew that old feeling
I’ve talked about before, a feeling that there’s something bigger involved
than is apparent on the surface. You follow these little discrepancies long
enough and they sometimes open up into huge revelations. There was just a
feeling on my part that this was something a little bigger than I wanted to
take on without thinking about it, and I turned instead to my usual habit of
trying to extract causes and effects to see what was involved that could
possibly lead to such an impasse between John’s view of that lovely shim
and my own. This comes up all the time in mechanical work. A hang-up.
You just sit and stare and think, and search randomly for new information,
and go away and come back again, and after a while the unseen factors start
What emerged in vague form at first and then in sharper outline was the
explanation that I had been seeing that shim in a kind of intellectual,
rational, cerebral way in which the scientific properties of the metal were all
that counted. John was going at it immediately and intuitively, grooving on
it. I was going at it in terms of underlying form. He was going at it in terms
of immediate appearance. I was seeing what the shim meant. He was seeing
what the shim was. That’s how I arrived at that distinction. And when you
see what the shim is,in this case, it’s depressing. Who likes to think of a
beautiful precision machine fixed with an old hunk of junk?
I guess I forgot to mention John is a musician, a drummer, who works with
groups all over town and makes a pretty fair income from it. I suppose he
just thinks about everything the way he thinks about drumming…which is to
say he doesn’t really think about it at all. He just does it. Is with it. He just
responded to fixing his motorcycle with a beer can the way he would
respond to someone dragging the beat while he was playing. It just did a big
thud with him and that was it. He didn’t want any part of it.
At first this difference seemed fairly minor, but then it grew – and grew –
and grew – until I began to see why I missed it. Some things you miss
because they’re so tiny you overlook them. But some things you don’t see
because they’re so huge. We were both looking at the same thing, seeing the
same thing, talking about the same thing, thinking about the same thing,
except he was looking, seeing, talking and thinking from a completely
He really does care about technology. It’s just that in this other dimension he
gets all screwed up and is rebuffed by it. It just won’t swing for him. He tries
to swing it without any rational premeditation and botches it and botches it
and botches it and after so many botches gives up and just kind of puts a
blanket curse on that whole nuts-and-bolts scene. He will not or cannot
believe there is anything in this world for which grooving is not the way to
That’s the dimension he’s in. The groovy dimension. I’m being awfully
square talking about all this mechanical stuff all the time. It’s all just parts
and relationships and analyses and syntheses and figuring things out and it
isn’t really here. It’s somewhere else, which thinks it’s here, but’s a million
miles away. This is what it’s all about. He’s on this dimensional difference
which underlay much of the cultural changes of the sixties, I think, and is
still in the process of reshaping our whole national outlook on things. The
„generation gap“ has been a result of it. The names „beat“ and „hip“ grew
out of it. Now it’s become apparent that this dimension isn’t a fad that’s
going to go away next year or the year after. It’s here to stay because it’s a
very serious and important way of looking at things that looks incompatible
with reason and order and responsibility but actually is not. Now we are
down to the root of things.
My legs have become so stiff they are aching. I hold them out one at a time
and turn my foot as far to the left and to the right as it will go to stretch the
leg. It helps, but then the other muscles get tired from holding the legs out.
What we have here is a conflict of visions of reality. The world as you see it
right here, right now, is reality, regardless of what the scientists say it might
be. That’s the way John sees it. But the world as revealed by its scientific
discoveries is also reality, regardless of how it may appear, and people in
John’s dimension are going to have to do more than just ignore it if they
want to hang on to their vision of reality. John will discover this if his points
That’s really why he got upset that day when he couldn’t get his engine
started. It was an intrusion on his reality. It just blew a hole right through his
whole groovy way of looking at things and he would not face up to it
because it seemed to threaten his whole life style. In a way he was
experiencing the same sort of anger scientific people have sometimes about
abstract art, or at least used to have. That didn’t fit their life style either.
What you’ve got here, really, are two realities, one of immediate artistic
appearance and one of underlying scientific explanation, and they don’t
match and they don’t fit and they don’t really have much of anything to do
with one another. That’s quite a situation. You might say there’s a little problem here.