22o | CR Note on negative propositions [1940]

ceived as distinct from, as opposed to, being with the
unbearably frightening conditions around and in us.
Our belief in the nothingness of things carries so
little conviction with us that we continue to pro-
test violently against their existence. Like ostri-
ches, we merely refuse to admit existence, although
our fear of it all the time belies our words. The
attraction of non-existence feeds on a restless
obsession with the guilt of birth; it is often con-
nected with an unmastered bitterness against the pa-
rents, as against those responsible for one's exi-
stence and all the ensueing evils; and it is not with-
out its own brand of self-conceit - 'I am really
too good for this world'.

Therefore, while nursing negative attitudes
tends to weaken the hold of existence, it leads to
a break-away from separateness only after a break
in motivation has come to the rescue. Compassion
then restores what fury destroyed. Your place in the
world is righted, and the being of your selfhood is
revealed only when your own existence or non-exist-
ence no longer matters, or concerns you at all, when
you give it no thought, not even through a veil or in
a squint. But then there is nothing 'selfy' to catch
the eye,, that you might say 'yes' or 'no' to. In selfless
bliss all definitely ascertained propositions l(o)ose
their meaning and object. Where the self is extinct,
one cannot speak about it even negatively. For
(1) there is nothing to deny, nor is there anything
that could do this denying; (2) there is no longer a
possible, attempted, or expected unification against
which the negation could be directed; (3) there is no-
thing against which the assertion of non-existence
could be set off.

In the course of the history of the unchanging
science of wisdom many attempt were made to communi-
cate the incommunicable. They do us good if we reali-
se that they do not mean what they say, that they are
words turned against wordiness, meant to thin down
verbal meaning, and to outrage its conventions. Such
are statements of the type 'I am neither x nor not x'
or 'I am both x and not x'. Better still, 'transcend-
ental (gone beyond, or what leaves nothing be-
hind) affirmation-negations'. Like 'Those who were spo-
ken of as beings, beings indeed, o Subhuti, they were
spoken of as no beings by the Tathagata, and therefore
they are called beings.'