[lit-ideas] Smullyaniana

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2015 21:08:38 -0500

In a message dated 3/2/2015 7:47:21 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx writes:
I give up on Thaoism then. 

Smullyan seems a good key to the thing, figuratively.
Smullyan is a Taoist philosopher, who believes, naturally, that Taoism  
neatly solves most or all traditional philosophical problems (including some  
pseudo-probolems, too) as well as integrating mathematics, logic, and 
philosophy  into what he calls "a cohesive whole."
Smullyan was not _born_ a Taoist. He _became_ one. 
He taught mainly at Lehman. 
In "The Tao Is Silent" Smullyan provides a beguiling and whimsical guide to 
 the meaning and value of Eastern philosophy *to Westerners*.
The implicature seems to be Easteners don't need it.
'To me,' writes Smullyan, 'Taoism means a state of inner serenity combined  
with an intense aesthetic awareness.'
'It may mean something different to *you*,' he adds with a bit of sarcasm. 
'Neither serenity nor awareness alone is adequate: a purely  passive 
serenity is, to start, kind of dull; on the other hand, an  anxiety-ridden 
awareness will not appeal all.'
Asked about the topic of his book Smullyan replied, "Well, it's about life  
in general."
So I suppose the keyword should be Smullyan's LIFE. 
Smullyan sees the Taoist as 'one who is not so much in search of something  
he hasn't, but who is enjoying what he has.'
Smullyan, who taught at Lehmann, is witty and sophisticated -- yet deeply  
religious, and he discusses dogs (not just straw dogs), gardening, the art 
of  napping, and computers who dream that they're human.
Smullyan thought of entitling the book, 'This Book Needs No Title' --  but 
then he found out he had already written one with that title. 
His PhD was under Alonzo Church, if that helps. 

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