Fool’s Errand.

Buddha Quote 103

He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect

– Sting, ‘Shape of My Heart’, Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993).

The cliché, that no one understands, echoes humorously in minds that take great pains to explain themselves, dedicating great portions of their lives such that they are not misunderstood – only to realize that despite what they may have been told, they are not the issue. Few people know how to listen, something that cannot be taught, and fewer have a reading comprehension that stacks up above the scribblings of graffiti they call ‘news’ in this day and age. The spoken word is confused, the written word a vernacular of acronyms that cascades down the chasm of context known only to the author.

If even the author knows.

WTF IDK EIEIO.

And then when they don’t understand the motives, the reason, the driving force…

He doesn’t play for the money he wins
He don’t play for respect

– Sting, ‘Shape of My Heart’, Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993).

Suddenly, the fool and the wise share the same fate as the intelligent and those less so: Babel, even in the same language.

That realization of the fool’s errand, that Scylla to the Charybdis, can either break or build. It’s so very hard to tell the difference.

To Contemplate, to Understand.


Contemplate
I’ve been reading “Labyrinth of Solitude” by Octavio Paz – an overdue read – and he made a point about how the Mexican way is to seek contemplation, and the North American way is to seek understanding.

My inner Mexican contemplated because my inner North American didn’t understand. Of course, I’m not Mexican, and to label myself by a continent is pretty foolish – the latter not stopping people from doing it – but the point is that there is a cultural difference between the two, and I have always preferred contemplation.

The world I have lived in has constantly tested my understanding, giving grades along those lines, and I often find myself in conversation with people who believe that they understand something because someone told them, or they read it somewhere… someone else’s contemplation becomes their understanding. It isn’t earned.

I suppose in a world that constantly moves faster, borrowing the contemplation of others and making it one’s understanding is the way forward for a lot of people through formal education systems. It’s probably why I never truly thrived in them consistently, only thriving in demonstrating understanding subjects I had contemplated. This might be perceived as a flaw. I see that it demonstrates a flaw in society.

A borrowed understanding is not true understanding; a borrowed understanding comes from a context that is not your own. An understanding – a true understanding – comes through contemplation, and therefore is never complete.

If you understand that, I do believe you missed the point.