2017-02-28

Raven 36: First Person Singular

A couplet from FitzGerald's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1048-1131): "Some little talk awhile of me and thee, /there seemed -- and then no more of thee and me." A different translation renders Khayyam's Persian as: "Behind the veil there is much talk about us, why /When the veil falls, neither you remain nor I." We do talk about ourselves. I talk about me, I talk about you, you talk about you, you talk about me, we all talk about each other. And yet there is no one there. And yet it would be foolish to try to get through a day without a sense of self and others. And yet that's an illusion. And yet necessary. And yet, and yet. Also, wolverine's are extraordinarily fierce; how is fierceness relevant?

Case
Wolverine came by unannounced one evening in early autumn.
"Hello," said Raven, "I'm Raven."
Wolverine said, "The Roshi is meeting this one for the first time."
Raven said, "Is that so? What happened to the first person singular?"
Wolverine said, "No-self has appeared."
Raven said, "Could've fooled me."
Verse
To watch a movie, two pointers
Moviegoers follow effortlessly:
Remember it's an illusion, and
Forget it's an illusion.
Let yourself be taken in, and
Step back out again.
Be in that reality, while
Knowing it isn't real.
To have a self, the same two pointers.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven 35

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