The danger of nothing

I am so bloody sick of designers on home improvement television shows describing their creations as “zen” and “zen-like”. Like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, I say, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Zen, it seems, is getting to know yourself. Why, Zen is the pinnacle of knowledge. In fact, turning your eye inward is the way to achieve enlightenment. Forget scriptures! Forget the Lord God Almighty! The power to know you — is within you — and you are what it’s all about! The way to do this is to meditate to the point of ‘emptiness’. When I read this, I was reminded of the parable Jesus taught of the house that is swept clean.

Nature may abhor a vacuum, but in the supernatural world there is no such thing. Emptying yourself is like stocking your liquor cabinet, taking the locks off your doors and advertising to the world that you’re leaving for a three-month walking tour of Europe.

You think the house will stay empty?

Back to HGTV: what in the world does zen have to do with interior design anyway? It’s like saying the dining room needs to be more “apotheosis” or the family room plan is really “messianic”.

Zen is a metaphysical concept, not a style of interior design. Think on this: the goal of zen is to attain enlightenment through experiential wisdom. What was that first lie in the garden?1 “[Y]our eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…”

Read Sharon’s article for a glimpse at how “zen” is percolating through American culture.

1 Well, the second lie, actually; the one after Eve said God had warned that just touching the fruit would kill them.

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