Theory of Living Systems

Nothing in the universe can stand by itself – no thing, no fact, no being, no event – and for this reason it is absurd to single anything out as the ideal to be grasped. For what is singled out exists only in relation to its own opposite, since what is defined by what is not, is defined by what is, pleasure is defined by pain, life defined by death and motion defined by stillness. Obviously, the mind can form no idea of what to be, without the contrast of ” not be”, since the idea of non-being are abstractions from such simple experiences as there is a penny in the right hand and no penny in the left.

From The Way of Zen by Alan Watts




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