Omar Khayyam and Max Stirner

Translated by Ulrike Hirschhäuser

I Determined To Rely On Nothing !

2) The Inexpressible  


Transgressing limits implies that words become unreal and concepts are no longer arbitrary. According to Omar the world of appearances is an illusion, it is characterized by emptiness, so what is hidden behind it cannot be grasped by reason. And as all abstractions ring hollow and do not permit transgressing limits Stirner and Omar declare them to be invalid. Concepts are subjected to logical thinking. Man´s real experiences are not logical ones. So they can only be communicated indirectly. The world of experiences differs from the world of concepts. Suzuki tries to explore this phenomenon. He writes, “In the western world yes means yes, and no means no. Yes never means no and vice versa. The eastern world allows yes to transform into no and no into yes; there are no rigid limits between the two words. The reason for this is the nature of life. Only logical thinking does not allow to remove limits. Logical thinking was created as an aid for useful purposes.”[1] Whatever concepts rationalists may devise, they will be unable to outwit life. Moreover Suzuki tries to explain the failure of reason, which is in charge of the search for a definite answer, and arrives at a conclusion which coincides with mysticism, “The answer is buried deep below the lowest layer of our nature.”[2] Below the surface there is the subconscious called Mu by Suzuki, i.e. the cosmic or ontological subconscious. To the mystic and the unique Ego it is their inner lives where they identify God and the world. That is the essence of Omar´s teachings: the concept of truth has to be eliminated, but not the truth itself. I can experience the truth by being myself, I am my creation, because I am the world. Thus the contrast or difference between me and the world is abolished and both parts are united and become an entirety. Concerning the inexpressible all beating about the bush will come to an end.

Omar leaves the world, which is full of conflicts, behind without explaining its riddle, without “pronouncing any profound word”. The world cannot be explained but only be experienced. We can consider these to be Omar´s and Stirner´s last words.


[1] D.T. Suzuki, E.Fromm Zen-Buddhismus und Psychoanalyse, 1971, p.19 (Zen-Buddhism and Psychoanalysis)

[2] Suzuki, Fromm p. 67

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