There is a bumble bee in my basement, “attacking” the fluorescent lighting tubes. He (she?) doesn’t understand that this light is not day-light. He (she?) doesn’t understand that he (she?) is in my basement and not outside. The bumble bee bangs and bangs against the light, needing something from it, perhaps, the navigation guidance of the sunlight, I don’t know.
What I do know is that the bee cannot and will not understand the nature of this mystery. He (she?) is mesmerized, befuddled, exasperated. I’ve seen flies do the same, when trapped inside, they bang against the transparent – and, therefore, theoretically, open “space” of the window pane. “Why can’t I fly through?” must think the fly. “Why isn’t this dumb light working as the sunlight should?” must wonder the bee.
I open the basement door, it’s dark outside, I turn on the outside light and wait – in hope – for the bee to fly out, thinking that I fooled it. It keeps bomb-diving at the fluorescent tubes in the basement, seemingly unaware of the escape option. I turn off the basement light, just leaving the outside light on. The contrast works: the bee instantly flies out, following its instinct for the light.
Problem solved, but not the mystery.
Same with us. A human mind keeps banging on the doors of the perennial questions (such as “Who am I?” “How can there be an infinity of space?” “How can something – like this Universe – emerge from a non-existent nothingness?”).
These unanswerable questions, these labyrinthine koans of cognition! I am myself still chasing these thought-pests almost every day.
Fly away, human mind. Fly around, human mind.
Acceptance of one’s epistemological limitations is the only solution to these mysteries.
Some “things” we just can’t ever understand (just like a stink-bug that is now crawling on my computer screen… no matter how well it “maps” this area of light, it can never be enlightened to the meaning of, say, Internet).
I know, I know, I am in need of pest control.
(I am talking meditation, not fumigation, of course).
Bumblebee image available from Shutterstock.
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Last reviewed: 8 Jun 2012