“Now the wind exceeding the sail is beautiful.”

Jeff Shampnois wrote the following as a response to “It’s not a process.” My comments are interleaved within…

You rang my tuning fork with this. We seem to enter the territory beyond the precipice through a natural negation, a letting go of conclusions, of static structures. Maybe that wind dismantling the meaning of words is the way truth itself feels. The same wind that blows apart the sand Mandala, knocks me free from one certainty after another. This force itself is a kind of certainty. But it’s a certainty that isn’t attached to a fixed position.

Extended metaphor like this allows us to approach the moment without losing it in description/explanation. This form of certainty he points to is something I’ve been glimpsing out of the corner of my eye for while. It is where Krishnamurti’s realm beyond “opinions” lies. It connects with Taleb‘s “Wise-guy” heuristics too….

There seem to be two possible responses to being dislodged. Either we end up reattaching to new certainties (successfully or not); or now and then we end up leaping like an electron into a completely different relationship to words and their failures and to truth. And from there we can’t seem to dangle a rope of explanation to our previous minds. There’s a discontinuity in this change.

Change is immediate. Habit is persistent. Both are true and both shape how we interact with our on-going integration. When a change has been extreme enough to take us beyond the support of our established habits there is an instability. We can find our selves pulsating between the new state and our old habitual position. This is disorienting. If we fear it this can bring its own form of suffering. We fall into worry instead of accepting it as part of the way change happens.

If we leap, then words are released from an old bondage. It’s a bondage we probably believed we already escaped. It has to do with the confusion between word and thing. Once we heard Korzybski say it, we thought we had it. But that was also only an idea. When we leap, we’re no longer looking for a static finish line, we’re suddenly interested in feeling the push of incompleteness itself. Then we no longer picture the truth as an eternal verity that words struggle to mimic. Words are no longer expected to bear that burden. They’re no longer expected to build a static reflection of some ultimate permanence, but to flex and shift like sails.

Yes! Exactly! This is our point of departure! All the pretending is dropped. We are cleansed of a persistent guilt at our inability to hold up our side of pretense. At first this feels humiliating. Then we discover we have arrived at the brink of Joy.

Now we actually want to feel the push of that inaccuracy, the way words can never house that power. We flex these sails playfully now, using them knowingly as theory, as metaphor, abandoning completely the need for solid ground, for permanence. Everything is an assumption. The infinity of thought is assumption. An infinity that is also limited.

Holographically put! When we leave the reflex of duality behind paradox is no longer a barrier. It is a sign of clear air. Words have a new strength when they are liberated from power and negotiation. We are speaking/writing to find what comes, not to prop-up or defend an a-priori position. “An infinity that is also limited.” A paradox within reductive logic, here says just what you mean.

We feel the boat beneath us morphing and rolling in a truth far exceeding it. The deficiencies themselves suggest the bigger world. We no longer try to stuff truth inside static containers. Words are not containers now. The static now seems shamefully small. It was like trying to stuff a bear in a parakeet’s cage. Now we cheer the awesome power of the bear to exceed our expectations. It frustrated us because we believed in a static idol of truth. We didn’t really see the difference between word and thing. Now the wind exceeding the sail is beautiful.

Therefore our perpetual adjustments of language are never complete, and we never expect completion. We neither expect it nor want it. It’s the corrections we enjoy – the chance to play more. We like the feel of the current pushing us away from these old formulations into perpetually deepening waters. It’s the slack that lets us use words more freely. Freed from this burden they finally come into their own. It’s a limited domain, but a domain that finally highlights their potential craftsmanship.

We see now that when Bohm used “theory” he meant this: When Krishnamurti used “fact” he meant the incompleteness. In theory we’re always cognizant of the pull of incompleteness. We feel the question. And we feel the incompleteness pushing us always off our static forms. Then we leap at the opportunity to adjust the metaphoric sails. And on and on, following an ever subtler, more powerful current.


I was tempted to post Jeff’s remarks freestanding, but they were written in expectation of a response. So this seems more appropriate.

These insights into language and how – and what – we communicate take us into another realm of potential action. This is a pregnant pause, I think….

As this relationship is internalized – something that happens between moments of action and then transforms how we act subsequently – it’s important to let it happen.

One way the certainty Jeff describes shows itself is in how a new voice shows itself to us and lets us know it’s time to let it out. In the in-between there is an awkwardness, a reluctance, even a fog. These can become sources of frustration. If we do not accept them as steps on the path we can get lost. Be too preoccupied to hear the call when it comes from that quietest voice that has the most to say.

Jeff is one of those quiet voices. I hope you’ll join me in encouraging him to take his blog active and share his insights with us directly.

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Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

6 thoughts on ““Now the wind exceeding the sail is beautiful.”

  1. Hi Tony,
    This last post itched my funnybone, even though it’s sincerity is obvious. Somehow it reminds me of the old high steel worker story. When asked if he ever worried about falling, The steel worker spit into space and thought a bit, then responds, “No, I don’t even think about it, although the sudden stop concerns me a bit.”.


  2. Beautiful! Thank you Jeff, for bringing these words into view. I do hope you find a place to share more of them, out of containers and into deepening waters.


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