Monday, February 14, 2005

The Tao of Blog 1

As the Zen Buddhists say, you need a finger to point at the moon, but once you have located it, you no longer need the finger. The problem around here isn't so much pointy-haired bosses as pointy-fingered peers. Our tools are getting in the way, the map is being confused with the terrain. There's also a great deal of pseudo-science around which reveals itself through a reluctance to admit to its relative, conditional, and approximate nature.

Now I am what Frode would call a Knowledge Worker, and I do recognise that blogs can be useful part of productive knowledge work. But this blog has never been strictly about the management of knowledge, rather it is intermitently dedicated to something that is almost never mentioned in the context of intelligence in this industry, wisdom.

This is a lesser-trodden path - a less fashionable route to interpretation. Yet it is still a research-based project as opposed to a meditative one. I'm not suggesting that we should all start chanting "om" at our screens, but I would like to promote a kind of non-conceptual awareness which I believe can be achieved by approaching things a little more indirectly.

The most interesting connections live in the void- the stuff that goes missing between all the discriminations, abstractions, measurements and classifications. In Buddhism the measuring and categorising mentality is known as avidya - ignorance. You might think that it follows that the monks had to be fairly ignorant themselves to come up with a category like that! It's certainly a bit harsh, given that conceptual ways of thinking underly so much of human inventiveness. Not all of it however - taken to extremes they lead to humourlessness - and activities conducted without humour are invariably activities deficient in insight. This is because a mind that is receptive to jokes is usually also a mind that is capable of making rapid connections between thoughts that might appear tangential to others.

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