reply to post by Cuervo
Shucks, and ta. To be honest, I am twisting my own brain into pretzels trying to talk about this. Any certainty is fained.
It does come down to being a question of 'to what extent should we take presumption'. The answer according to the ethics of zen is basically, none, or
at least, to reduce it as much as possible. What is here is all there is, anything else is imaginary and cannot be proven. Think you're a self, an
actual person? Think again. Think you have a past? Think again. But obviously this has practicality issues if taken to extremes, so as always, balance
One of the best examples of taking this to extremes is the solipsist Ruler Of The Universe in Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide...
MAN: Pussy pussy pussy . . . coochicoochicoochi . . . pussy want his fish? Nice piece of fish . . . pussy want it? Pussy not eat his fish, pussy get
thin and waste away, I think. I imagine this is what will happen, but how can I tell? I think it's better if I don't get involved. I think fish is
nice, but then I think that rain is wet so who am I to judge?
Ah, you're eating it. I like it when I see you eat the fish, because in my mind you will waste away if you don't. Fish come from far away, or so I'm
told. Or so I imagine I'm told. When the men come, or when in my mind the men come in their six black shiny ships do they come in your mind too? What
do you see, pussy? And when I hear their questions, all their many questions do you hear questions? Perhaps you just think they're singing songs to
you. Perhaps they are singing songs to you and I just think they're asking me questions. Do you think they came today? I do.
There's mud on the floor, cigarettes and whisky on my table, fish in your plate and a memory of them in my mind. And look what else they've left me.
Crosswords, dictionaries and a calculator. I think I must be right in thinking they ask me questions. To come all that way and leave all these things
just for the privilege of singing songs to you would be very strange behaviour. Or so it seems to me. Who can tell, who can tell. . . . .
MAN: I think I saw another ship in the sky today. A big white one. I've never seen a big white one. Only six small black ones. Perhaps six small
black ones can look like one big white one. Perhaps I would like a glass of whisky. Yes, that seems more likely. . . . . Perhaps some different
people are coming to see me. . . . .
FORD PREFECT: Er, excuse me, do you rule the Universe?
MAN: I try not to. Are you wet?
FORD: Wet! Well, doesn't it look as if we're wet?
MAN: That's how it looks to me, but how you feel about it might be a different matter. If you find warmth makes you feel dry you'd better come in.
. . . .
ZAPHOD BEEBLEBROX: Er, man, like what's your name?
MAN: I don't know. Why, do you think I ought to have one? It seems odd to give a bundle of vague sensory perceptions a name.
ZARNIWOOP: Listen. We must ask you some questions.
MAN: All right. You can sing to my cat if you like.
ARTHUR DENT: Would he like that?
MAN: You'd better ask him that.
ZARNIWOOP: How long have you been ruling the Universe?
MAN: Ah, this is a question about the past is it?
MAN: How can I tell that the past isn't a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of
ZARNIWOOP: Do you answer all questions like this?
MAN: I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say. . . . .
edit on 9-10-2012 by delusion because: correct quote format