04 November 2008

Not a koan

Students of Zen are traditionally presented with a koan, a verbal object for contemplation, often couched in the form of a question. For those of us with less discipline, life offers question which serve much the same purpose: Douglas Adams' "Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches?" for example. Or, for a topical flavour on this day of record US voting figures: how much difference can the choice of one person or another at the top of a pyramid make to those at the base?

A week ago, exactly, in a comment no longer visible, I was given a question. While not a koan (because it seems to invite logical solution), it nevertheless serves a a similar purpose.

Julie Heyward said...
Ne confiture de cerise arrive pas?
(28 October 2008, at 1355 Z)

At all sorts of odd moments (reading a page of mathematics, gazing out of a train window, in the bath, scurrying the streets of an unfamiliar city, dropping off to sleep) I now find myself contemplating the nonarrival of cherry jam...

  • Adams, D., The hitch hiker's guide to the galaxy. 1979, London: Pan Books. 0330258648 (pbk)
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