9 September 2014

"The high country of the mind"

I want to talk about another kind of high country now in the world of thought, which in some ways, for me at least, seems to parallel or produce feelings similar to this, and call it the high country of the mind.
If all of human knowledge, everything that's known, is believed to be an enormous hierarchic structure, then the high country of the mind is found at the uppermost reaches of this structure in the most general, the most abstract considerations of all.
Few people travel here. There's no real profit to be made from wandering through it, yet like this high country of the material world all around us, it has its own austere beauty that to some people makes the hardships of traveling through it seem worthwhile.
In the high country of the mind one has to become adjusted to the thinner air of uncertainty, and to the enormous magnitude of questions asked, and to the answers proposed to these questions. The sweep goes on and on and on so obviously much further than the mind can grasp one hesitates even to go near for fear of getting lost in them and never finding one's way out.
What is the truth and how do you know it when you have it? -- How do we really know anything? Is there an "I,'' a "soul,'' which knows, or is this soul merely cells coordinating senses? -- Is reality basically changing, or is it fixed and permanent? -- When it's said that something means something, what's meant by that?

in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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