"When I forget my ways, I am in The Way"

Philosophical and experiential notes on Nothingness, with supporting insights from martial arts, quantum physics and Taoism


03 July 2013

The Monks of Nothingness


THE MONKS OF NOTHINGNESS

It's been claimed the Monks of Nothingness really don't contribute much. Actually, if you happened to mentioned this to one of them, he'd quite likely ask, "Much of what?" They toy with language.

But they don't toy with language because they are being sarcastic. It's more about humor and insight. Because "much of what" could, in fact, be a great deal less than even the smallest little bit of Nothingness.

Of course this kind of conversation can quickly get confusing and nuanced, so the monks don't talk about it 'much'. That way they won't get accused of talking riddles. So they become quiet. Which often means they are viewed as being withdrawn - non-contributing members of society. 

Obviously, if you mentioned this to a monk he would instinctively ask, "Well, what is it, exactly, that we should be contributing to society?"

By now, most people, understandably exasperated with all this monkliness, mutter dismissive slander under their breath as they trod off. But the truth is the truth, and the monks - to be fair - have a point.

Because society is all about 'somethingness' - and making more and more of it. And since The Grand Machine of Perpetual Somethingness is designed, built and operated that way, there's very little room for anything less than a whole lot of something. 

To be fair, the monks understand the attraction of all the somethingness that's going on. It's just that they don't want to contribute to making a bigger mudpie - there's already billions of people swarming that particular mound of dirt.

And what with all the piling on, it can get messy, competitive and deadly in there. People become worn out by the struggle - unless they're very rich. But the rich become worn out too, protecting their money. So in the end, there are a lot of worn out ants.

Meanwhile, the Monks of Nothingness sit by themselves on the empty grandstand seats, chewing on non-GMO popcorn. Wondering when everyone is going to get tired of playing the same old losing game.