Chapter 7: Full Emptiness
This interchange between the Sufi mystic, Simab, and a nobleman named Mulakab, is preserved in oral transmission as a dialogue often staged by wandering dervishes.
Mulakab: “Tell me something of your philosophy so that I may understand.”
The mystic replied: “You cannot understand unless you have experience.”
Mulakab: “I do not have to understand a cake to know whether it is bad.”
Simab: “If you are looking at good fish and you think that it is a bad cake, you need to understand less, and to understand it better, more than you need anything else.”
Sufism is an alchemy. It is the science to transform lead into gold, the lower into the higher, the outer into the inner. It is the science to transform the world into God.
Remember, Sufism is not a philosophy, it is a science. It does not believe in speculation, it believes in experience. It does not believe in logical thinking, it believes in experimentation. Only experiment decides what is true; nothing else can be decisive. Only when you know do you know - there is no other way to know.
Sufism does not trust in beliefs. It wants you to drop all kinds of beliefs because they will be the barriers to knowing. A belief is a pseudo kind of knowing - you really don’t know but because you believe, because you have believed so long, you start feeling as if you know. All your beliefs have to be taken away from you. You have to be left in ignorance and innocence. Only from there is experimentation possible.
Science presupposes nothing - no belief, no a priori belief. There is no presupposition at all. Science starts with a blank mind.
These are the three things you will have to understand deeply. The first is art. Art does not bother much about the object. it has its own projections. Art uses the object as a screen on which to project its subjectivity. When you see a woman’s face or a child’s face or a flower, art is not concerned with the objective - with what is there - art is concerned with what you make of it, what you project onto it. Beauty is not part of the objective, beauty is your dream that you bring to the object - then the object looks beautiful.
Art invents, art does not discover. It is not interested in discovery, it is inventive, it is imaginative, it is projective. That is the basic meaning of the word poet. The original root comes from poietes - poietes means one who creates. Art is creative.
But what can you create? Whatsoever you create will be your mind projection. Art creates beauty. Science is not creative in that sense. Science is discovery. Whatsoever is there, science only uncovers it. It does not invent, it has no idea to project. Science is objective; art is subjective. With art you have some projections, some ideas as a requirement. Before you come to the rose-flower you have to come with some dreams in your mind, you have to nourish dreams. When those dreams are overflowing they will overflow onto the roseflower, they will surround the roseflower with a glory, with an aura, and you will see something which is not there. You will see something which is really inside you and is only reflected from the outside back to you. Art is a dream; it is dream stuff.