Saturday, February 12, 2011


One of the effects of a brutal winter is the creation of potholes. Lots of them. Driving to work, or anywhere, has become more like running through an obstacle course. Some of them are deep; I’ve barely missed a few that looked like they could swallow up at least half of my car. The worst ones are on the highways and on the side roads of affluent neighborhoods. Or, maybe it’s just that I drive through a lot of affluent neighborhoods on my way to work. In any case, they’ve never been holier.

A ring of black holes has been discovered in the constellation Cetus. If my understanding is correct, the black holes are forming because of a collision of two galaxies. Matter eats itself. Black holes are like life in that sense, I think. Life is all about eating itself. The Kirtimukha and the Ouroboros.

Too much thinking makes loopholes. Alan Watts once spoke of the reluctance of the ancient Chinese to let the people read the laws. They argued that they would read the words without understanding all of the factors involved. In order for laws to be just, they need to be executed with equanimity. But, if one reads the words too literally, they find exceptions, omissions—loopholes. Loopholes can be useful when you’re dealing with a strict or unjust law. But often they are used to get around laws that are merely inconvenient, though necessary.

Loopholes aren’t limited to the law. Our reasoning is full of holes, especially when it comes to self-discipline. It is easier to come up with an excuse than it is to do the inconvenient thing. It is only when we are inconvenienced by our attempts to avoid inconvenience that we resolve to take up the discipline again.

So—are exceptions and excuses holy? There is “hole”, and there is “whole”. There is “holy”, and there is “wholly”. Some would argue overlap between those terms. So, it is ironic that the word “hole”, while not the same term (e.g., holy is not an adverb meaning full of holes), doesn’t refer to “wholeness” at all.

It does, however, refer to emptiness. I would argue that this is the same thing on some level. God, after all, is “No-thing”. Silence, like anything, is neutral--it's an omission of any sound. What we do with that omission is another matter.

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