Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Conversations with Craig

Craig is a homeless man that hangs out in my home town. Folks call him Smiley, I guess because his demeanor is pleasant. He has challenges. I'm not sure what they are, but he's been around for as long as I've been here, some 16 years. He rides his bicycle around town, picking through the waste bins for returnable bottles and cans.

I had occasion to speak with Craig this morning. Although his thinking is hard to follow, his vocabulary is quite something. Being a word buff myself, I was intrigued. I listened to what seemed like random ramblings, searching for...not the "sense"...but the reason the words were coming out the way they did.

It seemed like Craig was embracing the flavor, texture, and contours of the words, connecting them together to create thought-forms that "felt right". The thought-forms would often blend from one to another, and I had a tough time following them all. Each one had some consonant or resonant appeal, not just in the sounds of the words, but in the sketch of their meanings. Often, he moved too fast for me, from one wisp of a thought to another, but I found that they were not just random babblings.

I spent about 20 minutes with him. In that 20 minutes, I reflected back to him my understandings of his thoughts, helped him finish some of his sentences, and witnessed someone playing with words the way I do sometimes. I enjoyed it, even if I didn't follow all of it. It was possible to follow, though, I perceived.

A couple of mysteriously profound utterances that I'm pondering even now:

"One is a metaphor for zero".

How does that work? Well, I hadn't really thought of it before, but suddenly I resonated with the following: For me, zero feels like the undivided whole, embracing both the material universe and the void, that place of emptiness and fullness, nothingness and unrestrained potential. The container of everything that is and that isn't yet.

One, on the other hand, is also an undivided whole, but a more tangible one. A kind of whole that we can experience in daily life.

"All that exists" is the unity of all that is, the unity of creation. 1. I can see it as metaphor for the true wholeness, which includes the container and that which is yet to be. 0.

Perhaps also 0 is also metaphor for 1.

Craig also said something like, "Embracing the plural is to abandon the singular..."

I followed this one quite well. Duality is an illusion, but it's a convenient and seductive one. Most of us think of our embracing the plural to be a matter of practical utility. But once you cross that threshold, it's tough to go back. And the abandonment of the singular is a tragedy we are living through every day.

I'm not sure what I think of Craig. He's probably a troubled fellow. He looks to be in reasonable health, peering through the grime and the tattered clothing. He'd be hard-pressed to hold a job, even if he wanted one

Is he crazy? Maybe. Probably, in at least one sense of the word

Is he interesting? Surely.

Our conversation today was filled with interesting currents and metaphysical abstractions. I plan to talk with him again. Beyond the cosmology, philosophy, and metaphysics, I'll be interested to see what humanity I discover there.

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