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The sound of one hand clapping

Photo by Geetanjal Khanna on Unsplash

Every time we say something there are deep reverberations in the world around us. If we can hear and understand the reverberations, an episode of deep hearing happens. If we cannot hear or understand, we think there is silence in the world. Either we said something very brilliant or something not worthy of a response.

There is always a response. Whether we can decipher or not depends on our ability to hear. Hearing as an idea and hearing as an act are two different things. Deep listening as an idea initially seems enchanting but it is not trivial to put it in place. It takes a lot of confidence in one’s own way of thinking to be able to consider another way of thinking. If we are not so confident, we can be shaken out of own world-view, and end up feeling disillusioned.

But the sound of one hand clapping also emanates from considering the impact of our actions on others. How does our experience of freedom bind others? What is the cost of producing the experience? Visualising the sum total of emptiness in the world as an invisible hand that is meeting our raised hand to produce a clap is another way to understand the phrase. When we are doing something that suits our character, there is an invisible partner lurking around the corner. Sometimes there isn’t but that is ok. This idea is eventually metaphorical and not literal. And with metaphorical ideas, we have to learn to put more effort in interpretation.

Building community is a difficult task. Community means a group of people that trusts its group members. Trust here means the willingness to engage in a give-and-take with someone without concern. It is an essential emotion to have within any group to take its quality of interactions higher. Higher quality of interactions makes a community close-knit and familial. A familial community can go beyond transactional interactions and reach new levels of altitude in terms of its potential. What are higher levels of potentiality? Higher levels of potentiality does not keep track of taking while giving. It is a rare state of exchange which is achieved by trusting communication that encourages forgetfulness. One forgets the balance sheet of giving and taking without any fear of the balance-sheet losing its balance.

The sound of one hand clapping is being sensitive to the reverb produced by the act of raising one’s hand. Every action produces a reverb. But the reverb is lost many times and one’s actions are then mistakenly thought to be benign. This happens a lot in the case of romantic love. People do things but because they are not sensitive to the reverb they think their feelings are not reciprocated. So, many would-be love stories don’t even begin.

Another way this phenomenon is apparent is in the way celebrities come to term with the adulation of their fans. Fans are a collective and are invisible. But they still cause a fundamental difference in way a celebrity knows himself or herself. Celebrities become celebrities because they have internalised the adulation of fans and they have managed to forget what it was life when they were not celebrities. This forgetting is irreversible. Celebrities who fall in the world and for some reason are not celebrities anymore go through a rough time. They are not able to accept the absence of the adulation. And the absence of fans. What we call “image” is in fact a gift that celebrities are given by fans. Because fans are only fans till their delusions of larger-than-life grandeur that they see in the person they frame as a celebrity.

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