Monday, November 13, 2006

A Rose is a Rose

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who expressed what is probably a very common idea.  She said, "Have you ever thought how language limits thinking?  You cannot think what you cannot express.  I have thoughts that language cannot touch.  Maybe it is my limited mental abilities or that I am not a very deep thinker."  
Do others who read this blog also feel this at times?  
In any case, I know this person to be very smart and that she is indeed a deep thinker so I had to come up with a way to show her and maybe others that there is a mode of thinking which has nothing to do with mental abilities.
I asked her how she would describe a rose.  
She answered as most people would by saying that she would describe its parts, its attributes, perhaps its aroma, etc.  And I said, "Sure, but can you describe the rose itself?"  The answer is that you cannot describe the rose itself.  A description of its components will give a person who has seen a rose an idea of what you are talking about and that is usually adequate but what I am seeking is a description of roseness.  
We know that roses and other flowers exist.  We are aware of their beauty and the quality of their being.  Can we talk about their essence?  
Another example is roundness.  Can you describe roundness, which we see constantly, without speaking of an object that is round such as a table or a wheel or even a circle?  All of these are examples of roundness but how would you describe roundness itself?
There are so many things that we just accept as realities without being able to think of them as other than descriptions of their components, yet they exist as qualities in the Universe.  So, what does this say about our thought processes?  
Imagine for a moment that these essential attributes are imbedded so deeply in your psyche that it is difficult if not impossible to bring them forth as thoughts.  Never the less you can in fact think roundness or roseness or any of a number of basic attributes that we are aware of.  Most often you will think of components that use these attributes but you can also think of the  quality itself.  Thinking roundness is not the issue, describing it is.  If I say roundness everyone knows what I mean.  There is no need to describe roundness as it is a basic quality of the Universe.  Perhaps instead the human mind needs complexity and gets a bit worried when something is so simple that no additional description is necessary.  
Spirituality is like this.  The fundamental idea of all mystical systems is to become human which is a very simple state of being.  The complexity comes when we ascribe method and system to this idea.  We always approach becoming human from our cultural point of view which assumes that a human being must have the qualities that the culture believes are essential to the perfected human.  Not so but our cultural imperatives will demand it.  As I understand it the perfect human being is a person who lives totally in the present, intelligent of course, capable of many things, but always in the present, meeting each situation or condition on the merits of the present moment.  How often do we meet conditions or situations based on history or what our culture tells us should happen.  So we tend to create systems that look as if they are secret or superior or somehow better than the average person is capable of understanding.  Let us instead meet each event and each person on the merits of the moment.

Love and Blessings, Musawwir


Za'ida said...

Dear Musawwir,

a rose is a rose is a rose, of course. But what about other "nesses" which depend on our definition. For example what is womaness or manness? Here we touch something which I'd call mixed levels because our definition of these "nesses" changes, evolves. On one hand we deal with basic qualities but on the other hand we create these qualities by defining them. Different cultures and ages have found different and often contradictive understandings of these "nesses" of elemental human being. Is that kind of backbinding?


amber said...

just wanted to say thanks for checking out my blog again and for your comment.sorry ive been gone for a while.was having a hard time but things are smoothing out again

koninskihbk61 said...

koninskihbk61 to mr musawwir: i have read your story about a rose is a rose but i am not getting any help from reading that i actually need your help i have tried and read a couple more of your stories from your book but the problem i am having it did not help a lot it did help some so do u think u will have a chance to help me out with my problem when u get back from being away or whatever u are doing cause i really need someone who i can trust and actually talk to about my problem i hope to hear from u soon and i hope u can help me with my problem i would really appreciate the help and all the help u can give me and advise u can also give me thank u very much
josephine koninsky

Jules said...

In all our lives and cultures we ascribe different names and attributes to all that is around us, to make communication easier. Then think what if you had to describe any given thing to someone, a child perhaps who has been sightless from birth? How would you begin? A lot of our verbal vocabulary visual / descriptive. So our mental visuals give meaning to what we are interpreting, not just the words that are being vocalised. Therefore quite often our communications are "coloured" by
our life experiences, and explainations or descriptions are hard to verbally organise. How would you describe a colour? My son is colour blind i often wonder what he sees when he looks at a sunset? But how can we each communicate what we see to one another??
Why even try, he is impressed with the glory of his sunsets, and i am impressed with mine!
Love and Blessings

Leah said...

"A rose is a rose is a rose.." very beautiful. I shall remember. Yes how difficult to mold a word. You do it very well, Musawwir and I congratulate you. I feel, so I am and yes, meet and dole out merits for the moments.