An Update from Lao Tzu

Having trodden the path for cycles uncountable,
Having crossed the ocean of mind from end to end,
Through all veils, its fountainhead have I finally seen.
To you, honest truth-seeker treading just behind me,
I offer this imperfect vision:

Only untruths can be experienced;
Hence, only untruths exist.
Truth does not belong to existence
For it is that which gives voice to existence,
As a trumpet to music.

Experiences are self-tricks of self-reference:
They arise from nothing and are made of nothing.
If you dig deep within yourself,
You shall always find the layer of self-deception
Upon which each one of your convictions ultimately rests.

One’s reality sprouts from the first layer of self-deception
That escapes one’s field of critical awareness.
The deeper this field, the more subtle the self-deception.
Those with little critical awareness thus live more colorful lives:
Their fiction is richer.

The honest search for truth annihilates its own subject
Slowly, recursively, from within.
Having peeled away every layer of self-deception within me,
I have found myself to be without a core:
Nothing is left.

Only nothing is true.
No external references exist, no outside arbiters.
We are self-created fictions, as is our cosmos.
The quest for truth is also the path to self-annihilation
And thus to liberation.

Rejoice, for your pains, fears, frustrations and regrets
Are all untrue.
There is nothing to fear, nothing to strive for, nothing to regret.
You have no soul; that’s just self-deception.
And you won’t die; that’s just self-deception.

But beware!
As a dream symbolically portrays the inner state of the dreamer,
As a novel insinuates the inner life of the author,
As a lie betrays the anxieties of the liar,
So the fiction you call reality reveals something of truth.

Thus pay attention to life,
For truth expresses itself only through its own fictions.
To discern truth in fiction: here is the cosmic conundrum!
To engage wholeheartedly without being taken in: here is nature’s challenge!
To find meaning in nothingness: here is the epic demand!

Partake in reality as an actor in a theater:
With attention, dedication, and an open heart.
But never believe yourself to be your character;
For characters spend their lives chasing their own shadows,
Whereas actors embody the meaning of existence.

May this small vision serve you as warning, and also encouragement.
The prize at the end of the path is handsome:
Freedom to make the deliberate, guiltless choice
Of which untruth to love.
Exercise this choice wisely, for it is the art of life.

Bernardo Kastrup offers us a picture rooted in physics and analytic philosophy, extending inexorably into the void.  Dao De Jing meets Tractatus.  This is where we end up if we take seriously the notion that thoughts create reality.  This poem was lightly edited and paraphrased by JJM.

Image result for joyously embracing the void

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