Beyond Beliefs

Beyond Causality

Beyond Consciousness

Beyond Histories

Beyond Individuality

Beyond Knowledge

Beyond Language

Beyond Memes




'I have long been advocating the teaching of Chinese in secondary schools, not only because we must inevitably learn how to communicate with the Chinese themselves, but because, of all the high cultures, theirs is most different from ours in its ways of thinking. Every culture is based on assumptions so taken for granted that they are barely conscious, and it is only when we study highly different cultures and languages that we become aware of them. Standard average European lanuages, for example, have sentences so structured that the verb (event) must be set in motion by the noun (thing) - thereby posing a metaphysical problem as tricky, and probably as meaningless, as that of the relation of mind to body. We cannot talk of "knowing" without assuming that there is some "one" or "what" that knows, not realizing that this is nothing more than grammatical convention. The supposition that knowing requires a knower is based on a linguistic and not an existential rule, as becomes obvious when we consider that raining needs no rainer and clouding no clouder. Thus when a Chinese receives a formal invitation, he may reply simply with the word "Know", indicating that he is aware of the event and may or may not come.'

Alan Watts, Tao: The watercourse way 1975