I listened to a part of an interview with Wendy Egyoku Nakao yesterday and, given the Swiss cheese nature of my mind, I probably am remembering it badly -- and am too damned lazy to go back and listen all over again -- but one of the things that struck me was her comments on the shadow nature of things. She was talking about the Buddhist precepts, but I imagine the same shadows touch anything we'd care to address.
What I recall (perhaps badly) her saying about the precepts was that there were three simultaneous aspects to them. 1. There was the literal interpretation -- whose shadow world was a kind of authoritarian rigidity. 2. There was an interpretation that flowed out of immediate circumstances (sometimes it may be correct to lie or cheat or steal) and its shadow was a kind of everything-I-do-is-OK slovenliness. 3. There was an absolute truth interpretation that really cannot be approached intellectually since it flows from an actual seeing into the nature of things. The shadows here are, once again, the conviction that I live in some perfected world in which I can afford to ignore the other two approaches and ... well, I am god -- eat my dust.
It was the simultaneous nature of these aspects that interested me. Wendy described them much better than I am here, but nevertheless, I think she hit an important nail on the head. The simultaneity of what happens means that any discussion, by its very nature, leaves things out. The authoritarians leave out the limitless freedoms. The limitless freedom leaves out the fine print. The particular circumstances leave out the uncompromised freedoms.
Emotion and intellect aren't very happy with the shadows, but emotion and intellect rely on the past while in the present, there is nothing but light. There's no talking yourself into or out of it -- that's just moralizing nonsense. But there is the simultaneity.
Shadows and light. We ignore either at our peril, just as when we embrace and elevate them.
Something to keep an eye on, I'd say.
With apologies to Wendy Egyoku Nakao....