Of "Bird" and "Book"

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Tariki, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    One of the "Signatures" that I have used on various forums is the following:- "When the bird and the book disagree, always believe the bird"

    I have always loved these words, which seem to point to something self evident. Yet, thinking about them, just "who" - or "what" - is the "bird"?

    Perhaps others here can give thought to this and offer their insight.

    Thanks
    Derek
    :)
     
  2. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    ah, I think it would be ur soul/spirit/that bit in u which sings...
     
  3. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercur├Žn Buddhist

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    Here's a parallel quote that I post quite often:
    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
    --Chuck Reid

    From a birdwatcher's standpoint, this is a statement about your actual observations vs. what the birdwatcher's guide tells you what you can expect to see.

    IMHO, it serves as a reminder that our knowledge is by no means complete. Expect to be surprised. :)
     
  4. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    I say read the book and watch the birdie. Don't forget to smile. :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  5. dmart

    dmart New Member

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    "When the bird and the book disagree, always believe the bird."

    James Auduban.

    Sorry, but it really doesn't go very deep. It's just a very simple statement of observing and being your own witness to facts.

    Darryl
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I found it interesting in reading/seeing some of his actual writings and drawings...beautiful artist...but many of his sketches and notes not only include song and mating rituals but also taste.
     
  7. cyberpi

    cyberpi Interfaith Forums

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    Well he stayed at a Quaker boarding house for a bit and his friend John Bachman was a reverend... so there might be a little religious symbology. The man shot more birds than almost anyone so I'm not so sure what believing the bird means to him.

    The book of Genesis starts the symbology with the dove carrying an olive branch to Noah, bringing him information and good news. That symbology carries pretty far through the Abrahamic religions and in the Gospels representing the Holy Spirit. The spirit is in the air... a bird flies in the air.

    I haven't read much of anything on him (John James Audubon) though.

    Taste? Probably lived on birds. Shoot, draw, eat.
     
  8. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    Thanks for the various responses, especially the little bit of information about James Audubon. It was just a name to me. His words were given as a quote on a chapter heading in Jack Kornfield's book " After the Ecstasy, the Laundry".

    "When the bird and the book disagree, always believe the bird".

    I remember reading some time ago in a book of literary criticism, a question being asked as to whether the meaning of any particular passage or verse or sentence was necessarily restricted to the intention of the author. Whatever our thoughts are concerning that particular question, the reality is that our own understanding does not necessarily have to be restricted to the authors intent, whether "deep" or "shallow", "simple" or "complex".

    My own mind makes associations and connections that are perhaps never entirely logical, maybe even a little bit scrambled!! Two connections I make with the "bird" and "book" contrast is with the well known words of the Kalama Sutta............."Do not be satisifed with ........liking of a view after pondering over it...................but, when you know in yourselves these things are wholesome, blameless, commended by the wise, and being adopted and put into effect they lead to welfare and happiness, then you should practice and abide in them." What price "pondering" over a book and coming to conclusions that are to our liking?

    The other connection are the words of Thoreau:- "With all your science, can you tell how light enters the soul?"

    (Well, I did say my mind was a little bit scrambled!)

    It seems to me that the "bird" is the answer to Thoreau's question, which is why I ask for its identity. It seems from my own experience that we can ponder many things - read many books - and come to conclusions after "liking" certain views. Yet how do we develope genuine discernment, how do we open ourselves to receive grace in all its varied forms, how do we develope deep empathy towards others, bring true compassion to our hearts, bring the capacity for mercy/forgiveness into our lives - both to give and to receive? It seems these things go beyond intellectual pondering, and often they seem gifts given to the "weak" rather than the "wise".

    "Great things are seen from the valleys, only small things from the peaks" (G K Chesterton) That's another one to "ponder", like it or not! What you see is what you get. Just ask the bird!!
     
  9. dmart

    dmart New Member

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    A work of art belongs to the viewer as well as the creator. It is enjoyable to contemplate what the creater "really" meant.

    I've listened to people talking about my art work and coming up with deeper meanings than I had intended. Really funny at times.

    I guess we could look at writing/definition in terms of:

    Intended and expressed
    Expressed but un-intended
    Un-expressed but intended.
     
  10. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Yes--art belongs only to the artist alone whose art is never observed. 1 + 1 = so much more.

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  11. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    I would say the bird is the mountain
    and the book - a picture of the mountain

    The bird is the observer
    and the book - the observed
     
  12. Tariki

    Tariki New Member

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    Prober,

    Just out of interest, your words brought to mind a few entries from the Journals of Thomas Merton. From November 19, 1968:-

    "Last night I had a curious dream about Kanchenjunga. I was looking at the mountain and it was pure white, absolutely pure, especially the peaks that lie to the west. And I saw the pure beauty of their shape and outline, all in white. And I heard a voice saying - or got the clear idea of:- 'There is another side of the mountain.'........................There is another side of Kanchenjunga and of every mountain - the side that has never been photographed and turned into postcards. That is the only side worth seeing.....................A great consent to be and not-be, a compact to delude no one who does not want to be deluded. The full beauty of the mountain is not seen until you too consent to the impossible paradox: it is and is not. When nothing more needs to be said, the smoke of ideas clears, the mountain is SEEN."

    Well, enough of mountains. And just to pass on another few words concerning "birds" and "books" - or whatever takes your fancy - from a response to my questions on another forum.................Someone who sent a present of a book by the well known child psychologist Dr Spock to a friend. They wrote inside the front cover:- "If in doubt, drop the book and pick up the kid."

    :)
     
  13. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    Ah, the open secret...beautiful!
     
  14. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercur├Žn Buddhist

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    Proverbs 28:13
    He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
     

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