Zen Calculus

September 15, 2009 · 6 comments

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about ego deflation in the last couple of days.  I was speaking with a friend of mine this evening, and she passed along this aphorism:  “10% of life is what happens to us, 90% is our reaction to it.”

Now, what I’m wondering is if we follow the “kill self now” aspect of so many philosophies (zen, for example), and get with the fact that shit happens – shit doesn’t happen to us, it just happens – then what exactly is that other 90%?

That is – hypothetically speaking, of course – if I can come to terms with the fact that there is no ‘me’, that I’m just one teeny piece of the universe, and I can put away the whole concept of something happening ‘to me’, then what am I left with?

A thorough discussion of acceptance is well outside the scope of this post, but if you’re down with the notions I’m throwing your way, what happens to that 90% of life that’s supposed to be all reaction to the happenings?  Is it just air – nothingness – like the air inside of whipped cream or styrofoam?  Or is it nothing at all, and the 10% is really 100% – do we then get lost in that 10% of life, because that’s all there really is (shit happens)?

Is it the tao that fills the empty ewer?  What do you think?

It seems to me (note the self-conscious self-reference) that if the all-important *I* is removed from the equation, there can be really no conclusion other than that the 10% is really 100%, and that what passes for ‘me’ is just one little bit of everything.  And, if we stir in a bit of reductio ad absurdum, there really aren’t any little ‘bits’ at all – everything is everything (as the divas say) – and, consequently, *I* am everything – and nothing – at the same time.

Thus concludes today’s lesson in mind-fucking.  Procrastination classes start tomorrow.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Christof September 15, 2009 at 01:03

There is no nothing because nothing….it something, it runs along the lines of “At the end of the Universe and you hit the brick wall with the sign saying The End….what is on the other side?”

To grasp the concept of mans inability to find the ends of Infinity is much the same as trying to find the 90%, it is what it is and we are what we….and at some stage the twain shall meet in a busy coffee house and never know it, absently nodding to each other while trying to figure out why nothing is something.


Scott September 15, 2009 at 08:08

The 90% would be filled up by acting instead of reacting. We would be living our lives without fear and doing what we truly wanted and thought was right not just running around reacting like ants under the magnifing glass trying to get away from the heat.


BRIAN September 15, 2009 at 09:09

I’ve just been mind fucked!


LLnL September 16, 2009 at 00:27

This made me smile : ) This my first visit and I already feel at home. Your writing style seems down to earth…I like that a lot.

What I want to know is how do people come up with these percentages? What kind of conclusive scientific test was performed that gave us these hard fats stats.

Some how Zen Calculus seems ridiculous.


Katie September 16, 2009 at 10:23



Maria September 17, 2009 at 12:36

Maybe Poe was right all that we have seen or seem is but a dream within a dream. Sometimes were to busy looking at the question to realize the answer. Does it really take percentages to know that life should be lived without the delusion that something is out to get us. Life happens at the speed of sound and were just catching up.


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