buddha's loincloth

The meaning of words is relative not absolute and totally depends on context, cultural and otherwise. For example, some people would consider a person wearing a fur coat (faux or not) on the beach at the height of summer to be "badly dressed" in terms of the environmental conditions, and the desire on the part of most people to avoid dying in a puddle of sweltery sweat. (There are so many assumptions and judgments in the preceding paragraph that I almost cannot go on. But I must. And so I do.)

Some people would consider a person to be "badly dressed" if ze were to attend a glamorous cocktail party or civic function wearing dirty old pajamas torn and stained in a dozen places. In this instance, "badly dressed" signifies a misalignment with cultural conditions and expectations.

There is very little rhyme or reason or logic to the wearing of neckties on the part of businessmen. Very little, but not zero: wearing a tie could save a lot of time if one needs a quick and handy means to hang oneself when things don't go according to plan). But seriously, there is a whole language, a symbology, a semiotics in use in the workplace, where necktie-encoded subliminal messages about power and position and personality are constantly being transmitted and received.

And yet, and yet and yet. In the context of self-actualisation and personal growth, isn't it true to say that the more one is concerned about physical appearance and accoutrement such as clothing, the less one could be said to be enlightened (at least within some discourses)? Ghandi for instance was never friendly with Calvin Klein: the one died before the other was even born. Nor would the buddha have given much thought to the style and fabric of his loincloth.

And yet, and yet, and yet. Isn't it also true to say that the discourse in which a higher (whatever that means) value (whatever that means) is placed on becoming self-actualised or enlightened vis-a-vis enjoying a good meal or a good fuck, say, is itself context-dependent and relative. And therefore susceptible to being judged by some to be "stupid" or "meaningless" just as the wearing of neckties in the workplace is judged by some to be stupid and meaningless. Nor do the words used to compare and describe discourses carry any absolute value. Words are like a one-shot disposable syringe. They only have the meaning we assign to them when we use them, as Humpty noted.

Which leaves us washed up high and dry on the drear shores of meaninglessness, enslaved by our own choices and contexts, and self-deceived by the trickster going by the name of Free Will.

But there is a way out. And it's really very simple. Just don't be surprised by the outcomes of your choices and don't complain about them either, or do, but then don't complain about being a whinging whining complainer. Or you might acquire a taste for it, and then pity everyone around you.

Words, images and audio copyright © S R Schwarz 2007. All rights reserved.

wicked and sick | manic memes | pathetic poetry | mumbo jumbo (refresh/home) | very short stories | triple x rubbish | portal to the multiverse