One reason I like to write is that my mind is a busy little metaphor machine. Comparisons come bubbling up all the time, and a really apt one tickles me and I want to share it – especially when it comes to Buddhist topics that can only be approached through metaphor.
Hence, The self is like the Red Sox, and I am a self-driving car. (More about these some other time.)
Here’s one that’s been lurking at the edge of my mind lately, begging to be put it into words: The Internet is a metaphor for annata (the non-self nature of existence).
The thought arose recently when I was working with our young website designers on Summer House Soap’s new site.
I studied graphic design way back in…well, never mind when it was, but let me tell you that when we wanted to position an image or some type on a layout, we had to glue it in place with rubber cement.
Even after I migrated to digital graphic design, (I was mostly designing for print) I could position things where I wanted them and they would stay there. Fonts, line spacing, etc. were under my control. And when everything was to my liking, I’d convert the file to a PDF, essentially creating a fixed solid object.
Not so with designing for the internet! It’s frustrating to see how different a design can look on different devices, depending on what browser is used, whether it’s mobile or laptop, and so on. What I had to get used to is how the design gets assembled anew in each setting. It’s a living aggregate of pieces, coming together in the moment according to conditions.
Isn’t that a nifty metaphor for the non-self (non-solid) nature of existence?
The young seem to take this fluidity in stride because they grew up in a digital world. I wonder if that makes them more able to intuit the dharma.