Bull’s Shit and the Bull’s Eye

It concerns us to know the purposes we seek in life, for then, like archers aiming at a definite mark, we shall be more likely to attain what we want.

Aristotle


Many words today are abused. I’d like to unleash their suffering corpses from the torture rack, give them a nice cup of soup and let them recuperate their once mighty position that they had in the world.

For example, the word ‘sin’, what a stepped upon word, and battered and abused words tend to carry on the legacy by one day growing up to abuse others as well. Today the word ‘sin’ is used to admonish and chastise ideas, and behaviors that are deemed to be non-congruent with an established religious order (religion, another victim).

Now etymological knowledge is an art all of it’s own, and while I’m in the business of reviving certain words I’ve come to know and love, I may visit them in their proverbial Guantanamo prison, but I may never know their true origins. I am not really a qualified etymologist. So is this that I’m writing a bunch of bullshit, maybe.

Taking up the bow.

Chet in Hebrew, as I have come to understand, can be a term that comes from archery, one of it’s meanings is ‘to miss the mark’. The Torah, which is the origin of the Christian old testament, is also a word pertaining to archery, meaning ‘to take aim’.

We all miss the mark, some of us don’t even know what we’re shooting at. The intertwining of archery and spiritual pursuit is a cross cultural occurrence, another example would be Daishadokyo, which is a spiritual approach to archery. Suffice it say, archery in general is usually a spiritual pursuit, known or unknown to the shooter.

If you are a member of the human family at this point in time, you owe it all to archery, unless of course you are from the Polynesian islands, your ancestors were masterful archers. Archery has been the means by which humanity has survived and thrived up until the relatively recent age of pastoralism and agriculture. Our ancestors knew the importance of creating a well honed bow, and arrow that flies straight, and the practiced accuracy to achieve a successful hunt.

Archery was so important to man at the time that pastoral religions evolved into their forms, that it’s practice and form was used as an analogy to the pursuit of righteous spiritual living. Like a hunter, our observations, our analysis and our expression of the spiritual environment meant the difference between bullshit and bull’s eye.

Trivium; Grammar, Logic and Reason.

Physically and metaphysically speaking, I think we all know of which we’d prefer to consume. Intellectually, this three part process of hunting can equate to the classical education model of the Trivium, data the observance, logic the analysis, and rhetoric the expression. In the field, there are many obstacles to a clear shot; rain, wind, lighting, and in the mind fields, or mine fields, there are many obstacles to clear thinking. We are bombarded daily by media designed to obstruficate the target. The ‘news coverage’ of political debate has dolled up the old Hegelian dialectic and false dilemmas into sound bites and neon flash sequined scarecrows. The study of the trivium can help an earnest archer calm their breath, still their body and take aim in chaotic environment.

But there is an always true reality that the unfavorable and favorable fall into place according to their context. Bullshit is not entirely undesirable, and it is the preeminent substance used for nourishment in cultivation. Missing the mark, to the person that is engaged in a mindful practice serves as just the shit one needs to get those roses going.

One can’t ever shoot strait off a bow, the arrow always rests off center. As the arrow is shot off the side of the bow, the force of the projection causes the arrow to bend and then spring, arrows don’t fly completely straight, they fly in a slight ‘S’ pattern. The arrow meets it’s target through a process known as the archer’s paradox. One’s arrows have to be matched to the bow, not too firm and not too flimsy.

As irrigators lead water where they want, as archers make their  arrows straight, as carpenters carve wood, the wise shape their minds.

Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

 

Further reading;

“What’s Archery Got to Do With Jewish High HolyDays?”

“Critical Thinking is Critical in 2010” A Jan Irvin interview with Gene Odening

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One Response to Bull’s Shit and the Bull’s Eye

  1. Tricia says:

    As I was reading this essay, I got to thinking about bullying in our culture and how we all take part in it in society – aggressors, victims, witnesses and intervenors. One doesn’t get out unscathed, but by employing your eloquently described archer’s practices I see those shitty experiences transmuted into fertile fodder for a new consciousness. Thanks for the ideas.

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