As when faking an orgasm, I suspect that anyone who has been party to a particular experience might feel a wispy incompleteness when reading or hearing some later summation of that experience.
Yes, the mind may say as the pages of a book are turned or some articulate lecturer drones on ... yes, things were indeed a bit like that and, yes, the summation is pretty good, but suggesting or believing that such summations cover all the experiential bases ... well, hell, you shoulda been there!
It is a bit like talking about the wonders of a sunset after the sun has gone down.
Why this incompleteness should be shoved aside like some poor relative -- shoved aside while the fake orgasm of later summations prances and postures on the mental stage -- I'm not quite sure. I guess being sure is just too inviting, too protective, too socially-plausible. My kingdom for a denouement! At last the lights come up and the screen announces, "The End."
Doubt is not an easy companion and yet without it, what hope is there for an orgasm beyond compare?
All of this mumbling trickles through my mind this morning based on news yesterday that a book about Eido Tai Shimano and his sociopathic antics over a period of more than half a century might actually appear on Nov. 1. Sociopathic antics cloaked in Zen Buddhist trappings.
The book's author, Mark Oppenheimer, is a thoughtful and dogged writer who works, among others, for the New York Times, so I have little doubt that the book will chart an interesting and readable course through the history of a Zen Buddhist teacher who took advantage of fragile women and used a great tradition for less-than-great purposes... a scumbag by some accounts. (Sorry, I haven't got what it takes to reprise the chapters and verses.)
The book will be pretty good and yet for me and others far better informed than I, the book will be a fake orgasm ... something we might dearly wish would put a period on some experiential sentence, but alas, will not. We were there when much -- or anyway some -- of it happened. We felt the lash and light of first-hand experience. We bled and roared and were confused. We longed for someone -- anyone -- to put a period on the experiential sentence ... maybe a book, an expose, would do it. But of course it wouldn't ... experience does not take kindly to putting periods on sentences.
On the one hand, a book offers the false promise of a denouement, and god knows, wherever anyone stood or stands on the matter of a sociopathic Zen teacher, we longed for a denouement, something that would put the genie back in the bottle. No more argumentation! No more anguish! No more camouflaging attempts to preserve and protect something called Zen Buddhism! No ... more ... bullshit! That's on the one hand. On the other hand, a book or summation ... well, if you had actually felt the experiential lash, it is a false promise. Experience has no periods except among those prone to living in la-la land.
I look forward to Mark's book. I am glad he took the trouble to write it. I do not expect to find any relief in it and I certainly wish I didn't have to read it ... but, tough titty, I will. I have involved myself in the Shimano maelstrom, in whatever minor a role, and so ... well, read 'em and weep: This is my responsibility. I am glad that someone, after all these years, has taken the trouble to depict the emperor's new clothes. I am sick of listening to spiritual life being depicted as a bowl of ooooeeeeooo cherries. Go get 'em, tiger!
But one of the nice things about getting older is that the willingness to lie down and spread my legs for a fake orgasm has dwindled. Summations are for classrooms and pulpits and other wobbly venues. The light brightness of experience is enough ... not always pleasant, perhaps, but enough.
Denouements are really a lot of fun ... in story books.
These days, jerking off takes more energy than I am willing to expend.