Re: A tech writer's koan

Subject: Re: A tech writer's koan
From: V3 <beth -at- vcubed -dot- com>
To: Tim Altom <taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2000 19:59:30 -0400

thus spake Tim Altom:

> In Japanese Zen Buddhism, a koan is a conundrum or story that has no logical
> point or solution and that is used to disrupt the student's logical mind-flow.

Close. Koan is the Japanese version of the Sanskrit word meaning "case". A
koan may not have a logical point, but they all most certainly have
solutions. A good part of koan study in Japanese Zen Buddhism is presenting
your "answer" to the teacher and getting rejected. Then doing it again.

Traditional koans are drawn from interactions between Zen teachers and
students (or two students or two teachers). Oftentimes, the teacher says
something and the student realizes "it". The point of studying a koan is so
that the modern day student may also realize what the student in the koan
did. This often involves interrupting the logical discourse going on in our
minds (okay, that is an understatement).

What does this have to do with tech writing? Umm, nothing. I return you now
to your regular discussion.

elizabeth
--
There is a reason Neo could defeat the Matrix - and it wasn't because he had
a better internationally recognized process model. --Andrew Plato






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