What’s to Forgive?

Photo by Karl Bloss­feldt: Monks­hood, from Urfor­men der Kunst (1928)

In going back over one’s past one remembers all too much foolishness. Yet how can I forgive anyone else if I don’t forgive myself? And how can I believe that now, as I have become and matured, I am no longer a fool? If “judge not that you be not judged” means anything, it means that we must look at human affairs, including our own, as we look at nature:

In the scene of spring there is nothing inferior,
nothing superior;
Flowering branches grow naturally, some short, some long.

Our deeds, our feelings, our thoughts, and our sensations just happen of themselves, as the rain falls and the water flows along the valley. I am neither a passive and helpless witness to whom they happen, nor an active doer and thinker who causes and controls them. “I” is simply the idea of myself, a thought among thoughts. Taken seriously it gives the illusion of being something apart from nature, a subject reviewing objects. But if the subject is an illusion, the objects are no longer mere objects. Inside the skull and the skin as well as outside, there is simply the stream flowing along of itself. The bones flow too, and their inner texture has the same patterns as moving liquid. In nature there are neither masters nor slaves.

Alan Watts
In My Own Way (1972)

Photo by Karl Bloss­feldt: Monks­hood, from Urfor­men der Kunst [Art Forms in Nature] (1928)

2 thoughts on “What’s to Forgive?

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