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Zen is concerned with what actually exists. What is right in front of you. In this sense, it is not in any way philosophical. Reality can be experienced directly. It is tangible.
The danger with thinking too much is that it serves to distance you from what is real.


Businesses seek to make money. They accomplish this in many ways. One method is 'abstraction'.
Instead of handling money with your hands, you are encouraged to use 'electronic' methods of payment:

  1. Credit card

  2. Debit card

  3. Store card

  4. Standing order

  5. Direct debit

  6. Mobile phone contract

These all serve to distance you from the transaction itself.


Your wage is represented as a number. You deduct various other numbers from your wage and the figure diminishes.
It is quite easy to look at your bank statement and see 40 deducted here and 300 deducted there.

Hard cash

If you were to actually hand over the money physically, you may see the situation differently. Counting out 300 in cash is altogether different from seeing a figure on a credit card bill.


The danger with abstraction is that it blinds you to the dangers of over-spending. You are seduced into spending money you do not have. This process is not an accident.


The finance industry has cynically planned and implemented various ways of exploiting people. Everyone wants a piece of the action. You are the 'mark'.
These massive companies want a piece of your money. Through your carelessness, and the process of abstraction, you have been distanced from the reality of your finances.


Crippling debt is the outcome of confusing the menu with the food.
When your house is re-possessed, you realise that numerical abstraction may have hidden the reality from you - but reality cannot be ignored.


Tai chi does not deal with abstract concepts. In self defence, failure to evade an attack means that you will be compromised, hurt or injured. There is no room for abstraction.
We must deal with the really real. A punch is not theoretical. It is tangible. So is the pain when you fail to deal with it successfully.

I like reality. It tastes of bread.

(Jean Aouilh)

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Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 17 September 2019