nietzsche

Waking Up Your Mind

So I was testing this new toy called StumbleUpon (new to me, anyway) and found a site called Raptitude. Here, I found a page with “40 Belief-Shaking Remarks From A Ruthless Nonconformist,” that nonconformist being Friedrich Nietzsche. Now, I had only heard of Nietzsche by reputation, actually; and a bad reputation at that.

I was quite surprised.

There’s a lot of Zen here, if you’re looking. I found this immediately apparent. However, it’s best to focus on one of the quotes, #35 in fact:

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy. – Friedrich Nietzsche

So, now for what that means.

Truth Begins With You

(And Your Physical Experience)

This message is a far cry from “I think, therefore I am”. It is much closer to saying, “I am, therefore I think.”

That is, we are human. We exist in physical bodies. We experience the world through the medium of those bodies. That physical experience is the first truth that we will ever know.

It is also, to a rather considerable extent, the highest truth that we will ever know. The rest is guessing.

Existence Is Truth

Maybe when some of us exist as disembodied non-corporal entities, we can have a nice, civilized discussion about sentience that has nothing to do with a human body. Until then, it is that physical existence which makes the discovery and appreciation of truth possible. Also, of course, the ability to guess and opine about the origin of humankind, what food to eat, and what channel the TV should be set to. (The answer to the latter being, of course, whatever the wife says it should.)

Zen itself is, in essence, a counter-revolution against the sort of dogma that diminishes the physical experience, making that experience seem irrelevant and unwanted. It’s an attempt to have mind over matter so that the mind wins. Furthermore, all too often, philosophy is used to try and gain power over one another, to win in verbal gladiatorial combat with one another. In other words, Zen is a movement against using philosophy to undermine and attack the physical experience.

This philosophy feels, truth is built from the body on up. What we experience is truth. It is not all truth, but it is important truth that comes in unfiltered and untarnished – to those who are willing to accept it.

When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep. – A Zen Proverb

In other words, sometimes you need to just let the body win. This is not a universal truth; the body ought not always win. However, we should at least be open to the possibility, because sometimes the body is right.

We’re just too wrapped up in ourselves to see it.

Unless someone slaps us in the face, that is.