A Parable: The Dictionary

Another Machine For Making Dreams

Another Machine For Making Dreams


September 16, 2016 9:45 AM

Once upon a time there was a Student who wished to know everything about Reality.

Student went to Teacher and asked, “Should I read the Encyclopedia of Reality to learn about Reality?”

“No,” Teacher replied. “The Encyclopedia of Reality is written in words, so first read and understand every word in The Dictionary of Reality.”

“Choose a word at random,” Teacher continued, “Then read the definition. Then, choose a random word from the definition and look that word up in the Dictionary. Then repeat.”

Student did so. Days and nights Student went from one word to another. Each word was defined by more words. Round and round and round.

Days went by.

Years went by.

Decades went by.

Every word was defined by another word. It was endless. It was circular. It had no foundation.

Finally, Student slammed the Dictionary closed and pushed it away in disgust. “I don’t know what that was, but it wasn’t Reality.”

The Dictionary of [Your Name Here] is filled with millions of your thoughts and memories. Each is built on another. Each refers back to another. Memories lead to thoughts and more memories and more thoughts. All about me, me, me, me, me. Memories, thoughts, me, memories, thoughts, me. Round and round and round. (Days went by. Years went by. Decades went by.) It is circular. There is no foundation.

Awakening is when you slam the Dictionary of [Your Name Here] closed and push it away in disgust. When you look at that old, dusty and dreadful thing and say to yourself,

I don’t know what that was, but it wasn’t Reality.

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