Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nature's Course

Daphne mezereum with butterfly, by Georg Dionysus Ehret
via Victoria and Albert Museum

The flower invites the butterfly with no-mind;
The butterfly visits the flower with no-mind.
The flower opens, the butterfly comes;
The butterfly comes, the flower opens.
I don't know others,
Others don't know me.
By not-knowing we follow nature's course.
    —from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf, by Ryokan, translated by John Stevens, via gardendigest

This Zen poem has come up in several contexts lately, and along with a conversation on Derrida and his concept of waiting for the revelatory presence of the Other, it has me thinking some about the mysterious, unfathomable depth of things.

It's a favorite topic of mine; I seem to find the theme in a variety of places—Italo Calvino's writings, for example. The mysterious Other has such potential for ethics and art. Accepting the Other as mysterious leaves space for authentic encounters to occur. And, when the concept is combined either with a scientific or Taoist/holistic perspective, the face of the Other shifts. That mysterious Other that seems to completely separate from me becomes a part of me. 

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