Thursday, December 12, 2013

Seeing Is Believing - Or Is It?

Yesterday I blogged about a bug that flew into the blazing fire pit at my home; a reflection upon his untimely death. That evening as I was making dinner, a black spot appeared in my peripheral vision. Whirling about to see what insect had ventured into my sacred indoor cooking area, I realized that it was not an external "thing" but something in my own eye.

Throughout the night, little black specs appeared in the three dimensional visionscape, but these black spots were not objective objects. Rather, something screwy is going on in my eyeball, deemed a floater by the vision doc. 

In the midst of dinner conversation with my family, an embarrassing thought popped into my conscious mind from the depths of neuronal hardware. Was it really a bug fly that flew into the fire or a black spot caused by some issue with my eye that I perceived to be an external reality?

The fable of the bug that flew into the fire has its own merits, as all fables do. And maybe a bug actually did fly into the fire. But the realization of a floaties-in-the-eye phenomenon introduced internal controversy: real bug or a non-existent bug disappearing into the flames?

Buddhist philosophers would say that a "real" bug and an "imagined" bug are both illusory, as both are begotten of a dream-like mind; waking events pass in the blink of an eye and vanish into our memory banks, to be interpreted and re-cast as we will them to be. All projection, from no start to no finish! 

Just as we dream of being chased by a bear and wake up with our hearts pounding and beads of sweat forming - all the while snug as a bug in our beds  - so it is with our version of the "real" world that is inextricably woven with the dream world. What I thought was a bug perishing in flames triggered an entire chain reaction of emotions in my psyche, as real as the black floaty that introduced itself later in the day.

Seeing is believing, but what we see is subjective, to say the least. Today my dish is humble pie.

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