Ratha (papertygre) wrote,

Slime and eggshells

I have to say it's been rare that I have written a journal entry (public or otherwise) and not felt soon afterwards that it was in some way wrong -- misleading, or overly emotional, or irrational, or wrongly motivated, etc. But the act of writing it out often seems to be the necessary step to getting my thoughts out to where I can get a good look at them, and that is often what is needed for me to move forward and leave the obsolete remnants behind.

I found this quote by Hermann Hesse a long time ago so I don't know which writing it's actually from:

"No man has ever yet attained to self-realization, yet he strives after it, one ploddingly, another with less effort, as best he can. Each one carries the remains of his birth, slime and eggshells, with him to the end."

As the Buddhists would tell you, we change constantly from one moment to the next, so in a sense, everything we do or write is necessarily a remnant of a past self, a cast-off step in the series of trial-and-error episodes that comprise the awkward process of life.

Yet we judge ourselves and each other by what we have done and what we have said, and it certainly seems to only make sense to do this. How else can we know anything about who we are?

Maybe the difference is in writing vs. doing. Perhaps writing (and speaking) exhibits the slime-and-eggshells property, but actions somehow more genuinely express our true character? Maybe Hobbes was on to something when he said that where speech is not, there is neither Truth nor Falsehood.

In a sense, it's amazing that it is possible to really communicate at all.
Tags: communication, essays, introspection, representation, writing, zen
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