Essence of the Middle Way: A New Routine

We are barely a few feet into Nagarjuna and Kant’s territories and the depth of their presentations is making my task harder. I am finding that these daily notes are more for my benefit, i.e., for me to put down my thoughts on that day’s reading, than to explain the meta middle way.

It’s possible I am being too cautious, but I am inclined to believe the raw content of my daily thoughts is a bit much. The drop in feedback also buttresses that assessment 😀

When the project was simple, i.e., read a page of Kant and explain it, I was confident that my thoughts were reasonably coherent and understandable. But when the project expanded to reading two seminal texts and extracting their essence, I am less confident that there’s a straight path from my mind to my words to your mind.

I could go back to the simpler task, which is hard enough as it is. But I feel a pressing need to flesh out five propositions:

  1. The metaphysical impulse is universal and takes different forms in different cultures and traditions.

  2. The untamed metaphysical impulse isn’t guaranteed to produce truth, and therefore, we have to constrain that pursuit to make it a truth generator.

  3. The middle way is a truth oriented method. Both Kant and Nagarjuna pursue a path that runs between setting aside all metaphysical concerns and unconstrained speculation.

  4. Reading the two in parallel opens up a path to abstracting a more general conception of the middle way

  5. That abstracted essence will throw light on many problems, including ones that wouldn’t have compelled either Nagarjuna or Kant.

With those five propositions in the background, I am going to try something different - I will continue writing daily notes, but keep them to myself as raw material for a more polished exposition. Instead of sending a daily note every weekday, I am going to send a weekly update like last week’s summary.

The goal is a cogent, easily understandable presentation of the middle way approach to N and K instead of a daily brain dump.

We have limited attention spans and I would rather that when I ask for your attention, I offer a piece worth the time spent. If, for some masochistic reason, you want access to the daily raw material let me know and I will keep the back door open.

Back in ten days.