All are mere words, of what use are they to you? You are entangled in the web of verbal definitions and formulations. Go beyond your concepts and ideas; in the silence of desire and thought the truth is found.
Carve me a portion of your heart
that part that is mine and mine alone
and in return I will carve my love
for you on bricks, rock and stone
or in a song, a string of verses composed.
But will I love you once and only then?
More than hundred years pass this pact
for every time this is read, I will love you again.
Your ancestors may not have had the toolset you do when it came to avoiding mental stumbling blocks or your immense cultural inheritance, but their minds worked in much the same way. The people who thought the world rested on the back of a great tortoise or who thought dancing would make it rain - they had the same brain as you; that is to say, they had the same blueprint in their DNA for making brains. So a baby born into their world was about the same as one born into yours. Evolution is so slow that not enough has changed in the way brains are made to tell much of a difference between you and a person from ten thousand years ago. That means that from gods in burning chariots to elves making cookies in trees, people long ago believed in all sorts of silly things thanks to the same faulty reasoning you deal with today. They, too, were fueled by a desire to make sense of reality and to answer the age-old question: “What, exactly, is happening here?” Instead of letting that question hang in the air, your distant relatives tended to go ahead and answer it, and they kept answering it over and over again, with newer yet equally dumb ideas because of one of the most profoundly difficult obstacles humans have faced since we started chipping away at flint to make heads for spears. This malfunction of the mind is called the common belief fallacy.
Before we had a method for examining reality, the truth was a slippery fish, which is why your ancestors were so dumb. So dumb, in fact, that for a very long time people got smarter in a slow, meandering, and unreliable sort of way until human beings finally invented and adopted a tool with which to dig their way out of the giant hole of stupid into which they kept falling. The hole here is a metaphor for self-delusion. Your great-great-great-grandparents didn’t really keep falling into giant holes, at least not in numbers large enough to justify a book on the topic. The tool here is also a metaphor. I’m talking about the scientific method. Your ancestors invented the scientific method because the common belief fallacy renders your default strategies for making sense of the world generally awful and prone to error. Why do bees like flowers? What causes snow? Where do babies come from? Every explanation in every tribe, city, and nation was as good as the next, even if it was completely made up. Even worse, once an explanation was woven into a culture, it would often become the official explanation for many lifetimes. “What is thunder?” a child might have asked. “Oh, that’s the giant snow crab in the sky falling off his bed,” a shaman would have explained, and that would have been good enough for everyone until they all had their own kids and eventually died of dysentery. That hamster wheel of limited knowledge kept spinning until the scientific method caught on. Even then, there was a long way to go and lots of cobwebs to be cleared from common sense.
You didn’t smile, not really —
but the way your eyes squinted
said “today” like
there could be no other time.
No, I am not enlightened. Let me be very clear on that matter.
The nature of all things is enlightenment but until we come to know and abide in our...