– About form and emptiness –
* * * * *
Drops from my paddle
There is something about water that always fascinates me. I’ve raised this subject many times before. Many typical qualities of water you can’t really see with the naked eye; often you need another perspective, sometimes the camera, the photo; sometimes you need to capture the moment, freeze it and investigate it on your own terms, on the mind’s terms.
A water drop is an object. It consists of exactly the same stuff like what it falls into, however, it has vastly different properties; and when it falls and hits the surface of this other water all this vanishes and dissolves. The object disappears together with all its marvelous attributes. In fact, it disappears so completely that it perhaps raises doubt whether there really ever was an object at all. The drop has a well-defined very unique shape, it has a border around it, it reflects light, it casts a shadow, it gets pulled and formed by gravity. Plain water on the other hand, open water in a lake or in the ocean has no shape at all, however, it contains the potential for all other forms like drops, like steam or clouds and ice. Plain water is no thing, but it mysteriously can become many things. A drop is a thing; the water it falls into we would not perceive as anything like a thing. Open water is like an idea; a drop is one manifestation of this idea, an appearance. Open water is empty, it has no form, but it contains all forms possible. A drop has form, but contains the original formlessness, contains emptiness. To me it is pure magic that they can exist at the same time. When I’m aware of such contradictoriness, this utter incomprehensibility that is not at all a flaw but clearly an intrinsic quality of this universe, I feel at ease, I actually feel at home, in peace.
And another aspect I probably mentioned before at other occasions: Both, when amorphous water turns into drops and when drops turn into the original homogeneous water, it goes through a state of chaos, a state where all rules break down. When still water gets turbulent, separate drops turn up; when drops plunge into stagnant water, a local chaos appears that dissipates into settling waves. The chaos is the undefined transition; and this kind of phenomenon is not at all rare in Nature.
In our times it often seems that we are all drifting – falling – toward a chaotic catastrophe. I think we should never be afraid of chaos; it is a natural phenomenon that can bring the change we are just incapable to imagine.
The ebbing echo of chaos, the memory of a drop.
Nothing changes but appearance!
* * *
Klaus third week of Feb. 2011