Sunday, 19 June 2011

‘a finger points to the moon’ by R. D. Laing

a finger points to the moon

Put the expression
        a finger points to the moon, in brackets
        (a finger points to the moon)
The statement:
‘A finger points to the moon is in brackets’
is an attempt to say that all that is in the bracket
        (                                                             )
is, as to that which is not in the bracket,
what a finger is to the moon

Put all possible expressions into brackets
Put all possible forms in brackets
and put the brackets in brackets

Every expression, and every form,
is to what is expressionless and formless
what a finger is to the moon
all expressions and all forms
point to the expressionless and formless

the proposition
        ‘All forms point to the formless’
is itself a formal proposition

        as finger to moon
        so form to formless
        as finger is to moon
                 —                                                               —
                 |  all possible expressions, forms, propositions, |
                 |  including this one, made or yet to be made,    |
                 |  together with the brackets                             |
                 —                                                               —
        are to

What an interesting finger
        let me suck it

It’s not an interesting finger
        take it away

The statement is pointless
The finger is speechless

R. D. Laing, Knots (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1973), 87-90.

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