19 June 2008

Letter 2.12

So Talmudic scholars count angels on pins, do they? I always thought it was the Catholic scholars who did that, and that the Talmudists counted the shekels on the Catholic scholars. There are Buddhist scholars as well, but I'm not sure what they count. The Buddha's Teaching, at any rate, has nothing to do with scholarship whatsoever in any form. Here's Kierkegaard on scholars:

'Let the enquiring scholar labor with incessant zeal, even to the extent of shortening his life in the enthusiastic service of science; let the speculative philosopher be sparing neither of time nor of diligence, they are none the less not interested infinitely, personally, and passionately, nor could they wish to be. On the contrary, they will seek to cultivate an attitude of objectivity and disinterestedness. And as for the relation of the subject to the truth when he comes to know it, the assumption is that if only the truth is brought to light, its appropriation is a relatively unimportant matter, something that follows as a matter of course. And, in any case, what happens to the individual is in the last analysis a matter of indifference. Herein lies the lofty equanimity of the scholar and the comic thoughtlessness of his parrot-like echo.' (Concluding Unscientific Postscript, pp. 23-24).

The only proper application of the Buddha's Teaching (or anything else, for that matter), then, is for one's own personal welfare. But -- the scholars (and others) would not agree…

No comments: