Captain Bob, thank you for giving me the opportunity to help you with so much. It was really for me a pleasure so don't feel obliged. Although there is more, so much more, I have to offer, I understand that it has to be taken in bit by wonderful bit. I am here always and, of course, you know how to reach me.
One thing, Dennis, that will certainly help you is if you fully grasp that you and I have radically different goals and agendas. I am curious to know if you have defined your own. My impression of you thus far is that you certainly have goals. When I speak of your 'moralizing', what I mean is that the moralizing you 'rehearse' (since writing here is all performance and in that sense 'act') seems rather transparent. The 'moral conclusions' you arrive at are not sufficient for me, but this does not mean that I do not understand how such a morality arises or what its use and importance is. I do suggest---though you completely reject the suggestion---that you not take so much about 'me' (us?) at face value. I-we are rather a creation that arises because of you, for you, our 'gift' to you! I know that sounds absurd and that is why I place it in such ironical and high-camp terms (as was my fare-thee-well to Bob the Bison). I know that the way I conduct myself (even saying Bob the Bison, I sense, is deeply offensive to your moral project and you will likely focus on that and utterly neglect all else I am talking about, straight-up and in straight-up prose), that the way I conduct myself produces in you the desire to chastize and rebuke, but what I wish you to see is that this is more or less exactly what I desire. I find it really interesting when the flesh falls away from the skeleton, as it were, and one gets to glimpse the structure.
There are a few things: one is that I consider irony and parody far more effective tools for communication (and for moralizing, and I do completely acknowledge having a moralizing project, since any communication of Value and Meaning is in essence communication of 'morals', I mean they are so connected as to be wedded) than your head-on approach, with the 'moral indignation' that (seems to) attend your rehearsals, is to me empty and ineffective---ridiculous in truth---though I know that your moral position comes as a result of your own crisis and growth, and your emergence into the Buddhism you practice. I know too that you are internalizing those Values, which are also Goals, and it is not at all that I don't 'respect' them, or understand them.
But my goals and objectives in being involved in communication are, quite simply, radically different than your own. Why is it that you feel so strongly the need to chastize me? Have you thought that through? (And don't reverse this, as you often do, throwing the question back up at me in response: I am very aware of my own 'reasons', my goals and objectives, and as I have said many times my whole purpose is in expressing them, and while I express them, to clarify them, sharpen them as it were). But for what reason do you spend so much time chastizing me? What is your goal and objective in all this?
As to 'emptiness': What shall we do here? I think, act and live in terms of 'fullness' and not emptiness. I am not interested in eliminating 'story' (this invented 'theatre' you allude to with a quote from Shakespeare) because, having thought it through, regard 'story' as essential to the whole platform of existence. I am quite aware that monks and sages react against 'story' (the deliriousness and madness of human imagination) and seek (and find) a platform in an unchanging self (this is a wee bit 'romantic' as description but useful). I am much more interested in story that can be put to use (by the self). I accept the tragical nature of life in this realm and I do not see a solution for it, except that one 'take the bison by the horns' and operate one's life. I am stating what is my essential view. It is not a view that you are going to be able to change. This is the fundamental difference that separates our views, our activities, our aspirations. It is in this sense that I seek not to 'make the self disappear' or become transparent and irreal, but to strengthen the self by providing useful story! In my view, what we all need to do is not diminish self, but strengthen and augment self, purify self, give self tools for constructive action in the world. True, it all is wiped away byt the actions of time. There is nothing (that I can locate) that is stable. All of man's work, in the blink of the eye, will be wiped away. And if one looks on that platform where Life arose and consciousness played out, there will remain not a trace, just eternal silence. Another way to imagine it is to think of a house---the house you grew up in. Let us imagine that that old house was torn down some years back. Now, there is just 'nothing there'---emptiness! Where is registered all the bright activities of time that once flowed through that space? The mirrors that reflected people, generations, birth and death? The laughter, the smells of cooking, the drowsiness of long afternoons, the sighs you heard at night while the family slept, the groaning in the wood as the foundation settled?
And this is just a fact of every part of human existence.