Thursday, May 24, 2012

How to eat a skateboard...

Kabbalah views human interaction with the reality as largely dual in nature. Entities, be they physical or metaphysical, either surround a person, are internalized by him, or both simultaneously. Of course there are many many gradations to the relationship.

At the most basic physical level we have different types of relations with things that help us survive. Food, for instance, is intended to be internalized by a person and vitalizes him from the inside by becoming a part and parcel of his being.

Clothes, in contrast, facilitate survival by surrounding a person from the outside, protecting him from the elements. Nonetheless, clothes are designed to fit the individual snugly, they take on the shape and size of the human body. In this respect they are said to surround a person at close range.

A house also surrounds a person, keeping him safe from many potential dangers, and also from the elements. A house, however, surrounds a person from a distance, for unlike clothing it does not, relatively speaking, need to be customized to the size and shape of its resident.

In the intellectual sphere, these three modes of experience also have their parallel. When a person is exposed to an idea which he is finds utterly unintelligible, the subject matter is said to envelop his mind from a distance - akin to a house. If he can detect the depth in the subject matter but is yet struggling to get his head around it, the subject matter is said to surround his mind at close range - as clothes do. Finally, if he manges to understand it - intellectually digest it - he has internalized the subject matter and has eaten it like food.

Unlike the physical items - house, clothes, and food - which are either exclusively surrounding or edible in nature, the intellectual, metaphysical correspondents are prone to shift from one level to another. At first, a concept may be completely aloof from the individual. Through intensive study and effort, however, he may come to feel that the subject is in his reach. Then, through even more concerted study, he may eventually come to understand and integrate the concept into his perception. The house becomes clothing; clothing becomes food.

The same principle applies to the grasp of skateboarding tricks. Initially, a trick may appear completely beyond one's calibre and ability, something one is completely in awe of. Through practice and determination, however, the trick may enter into one's realm of the possible - though exceptionally difficulty. Finally, through profuse practice, one may eventually develop the skills to perform the trick. Here one has integrated the skills required to perform the trick into his person, he has, in a sense, taken another bite of his board...                

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