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This article is taken from PN Review 16, Volume 7 Number 2, November - December 1980.

Introduction Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly

IF YOU want to know something and can't find it out by meditation, then I advise you, my dear, clever friend, to talk about it to the first acquaintance you encounter. He doesn't need to have a sharp brain, nor do I mean that you should ask him about it. No! You should rather begin by telling him about it yourself. Here I see you staring and replying that you were advised in your early years only to speak of things which you already understood. At that time, however, you probably spoke with the impertinent idea of informing other people, whereas I want you to speak with the reasonable purpose of informing yourself, and therefore both of these differing pieces of worldly wisdom may easily exist side by side for use in differing situations. The French say 'l'appétit vient en mangeant' and this empirical principle remains true if one parodies it and says 'l'idée vient en parlant'. I often sit at my desk over the documents and look for the point of view from which a complicated legal case is to be judged. (At such times, in the effort in which my most inward being is involved to enlighten itself, I usually gaze into the light as the brightest point.) Or I come across an algebra exercise and I am looking for the point of departure, the equation which expresses the given relationships and from which the solution afterwards easily emerges by calculation. And lo and behold, if I ...


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