By Douglas Edison Harding
'Reason and mind's eye and all psychological chatter died down... I forgot my identify, my humanness, my thingness, all that may be known as me or mine. previous and destiny dropped away... Lighter than air, clearer than glass, altogether published from myself, i used to be nowhere around.' hence Douglas Harding describes his first event of headlessness, or no self. First released in 1961, it is a vintage paintings which conveys the event that mystics of all occasions have attempted to place phrases to.
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Additional info for On Having No Head
If this is true of my head, it is equally true of everything I take to be “myself” and “here” - in brief, of this total body-mind. What is it really like (I ask myself) where I am, now? Am I shut up in what Marcus Aurelius called this bag of blood and corruption (and what we might call this walking zoo, or cell-city, or chemical factory, or cloud of particles), or am I shut out of it? Do I spend my life embedded inside a solid, man-shaped block (roughly six feet by two by one), or outside that block, or perhaps both inside and outside it?
Consider, for instance, the designer of advertisements - whom nobody would accuse of fanatical devotion to truth. His business is persuading me, and one of the most effective ways of doing that is to get me right into the picture as I really am. Accordingly he must leave my head out of it. Instead of showing the other kind of man - the one with a head - lifting a glass or cigarette to his mouth, he shows my kind doing so: this right hand (held at precisely the correct angle in the bottom right-hand corner of the picture, and more-or-less armless) lifting a glass or cigarette to - this no-mouth, this gaping void.
My first objection was: my head may be missing, but not its nose. Here it is, visibly preceding me wherever I go. And my answer was: if this fuzzy, pinkish, yet perfectly transparent cloud suspended on my right, and this other similar cloud suspended on my left, are noses, then I count two of them and not one; and the perfectly opaque single protuberance which I observe so clearly in the middle of your face is not a nose: only a hopelessly dishonest or confused observer would deliberately use the same name for such utterly different things.
On Having No Head by Douglas Edison Harding