Auteur Topic: anattā bij Iain M. Banks  (gelezen 186 keer)

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Offline MaartenD

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anattā bij Iain M. Banks
« Gepost op: 20-01-2019 17:36 »
Iain M. Banks is, wat mij betreft, een uitstekende auteur van 'space opera'. Het is geen harde SF maar toch zeer realistisch beschreven en van een hoog literair gehalte. Een mooi voorbeeld daarvan is Use of Weapons, waar het volgende lange citaat uit komt. Banks is voor zover ik weet geen boeddhist (geweest). Dat weerhield hem er natuurlijk niet van inzichten te hebben. Hieronder een langere passage met niet alleen een soort van beeld van anattā maar zelfs van een zekere sammādiṭṭhi over zelf. Ik plaats het ter contemplatie en ter vermaak.

“Let me tell you a sort of story.”
“Must you?”
“No more than you must listen.”
“Yeah . . . okay, then. Anything to pass the time.”
“The story is this. It’s a true story, by the way, not that that matters. There is a place where the existence or non-existence of souls is taken very seriously indeed. Many people, whole seminaries, colleges, universities, cities and even states devote almost all their time to the contemplation and disputation of this matter and related topics.
“About a thousand years ago, a wise philosopher-king who was considered the wisest man in the world announced that people spent too much time discussing these things, and could, if the matter was settled, apply their energies to more practical pursuits which would benefit everybody. So he would end the argument once and for all.
“He summoned the wisest men and women from every part of the world, and of every known persuasion, to discuss the matter.
“It took many years to assemble every single person who wished to take part, and the resulting debates, papers, tracts, books, intrigues and even fights and murders took even longer.
“The philosopher-king took himself off to the mountains to spend these years alone, emptying his mind of everything so that he would be able, he hoped, to come back once the process of argument was ended and pronounce the final decision.
“After many years they sent for the king, and when he felt ready he listened to everyone who thought they had something to say on the existence of souls. When they had all said their piece, the king went away to think.
“After a year, the king announced he had come to his decision. He said that the answer was not quite so simple as everybody had thought, and he would publish a book, in several volumes, to explain the answer. “The king set up two publishing houses, and each published a great and mighty volume. One repeated the sentences ‘Souls do exist. Souls do not exist,’ time after time, part after part, page after page, section after section, chapter after chapter, book after book. The other repeated the words ‘Souls do not exist. Souls do exist,’ in the same fashion. In the language of the kingdom, I might add, each sentence had the same number of words, even the same number of letters. These were the only words to be found beyond the title page in all the thousands of pages in each volume.
“The king had made sure that the books began and finished printing at the same time, and were published at the same time, and that exactly the same number were published. Neither of the publishing houses had any perceivable superiority or seniority over the other.
“People searched the volumes for clues; they looked for a single repetition, buried deep in the volumes, where a sentence or even a letter had been missed out or altered, but they found none. They turned to the king himself, but he had taken a vow of silence, and bound up his writing hand. He would still nod or shake his head in reply to questions concerning the governing of his kingdom, but on the subject of the two volumes, and the existence or otherwise of souls, the king would give no sign.
“Furious disputes arose, many books were written; new cults began.
“Then a half-year after the two volumes had been published, two more appeared, and this time the house that had published the volume beginning, ‘Souls do not exist,’ published the volume which began, ‘Souls do exist.’ The other publisher followed suit, so that theirs now began, ‘Souls do not exist.’ This became the pattern.
“The king lived to be very old, and saw several dozen volumes published. When he was on his deathbed, the court philosopher placed copies of the book on either side of him, hoping the king’s head would fall to one side or the other at the moment of death, so indicating by the first sentence of the appropriate volume which conclusion he had really come to . . . but he died with his head straight on the pillow and with his eyes, under the eyelids, looking straight ahead.
“That was a thousand years ago,” Ky said. “The books are published still; they have become an entire industry, an entire philosophy, a source of un-ending argument and —”
“Is there an ending to this story?” he asked, holding up one hand.
“No,” Ky smiled smugly. “There is not. But that is just the point.”
He shook his head, got up and left the Crew Lounge.
“But just because something does not have an ending,” Ky shouted, “doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a . . .”
The man closed the elevator door, outside in the corridor; Ky rocked forward in the seat and watched the lift-level indicator ascend to the middle of the ship. “. . . conclusion,” Ky said quietly.

Zeer aan te raden: Use of Weapons, Iain M. Banks

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Maarten