Monday, September 26, 2011


It's been some time since I've written anything and I don't particularly know why.  The days are getting shorter now, but only moderately cooler.  I'm sitting here in my apartment alone, watching some Kurosawa epic about samurai warlords.  That's not quite true.  I'm listening to it; the Japanese language relaxes me, and occasionally, when I do look at the screen, the costumes and settings are also soothing.  But mostly I just listen.  Images are difficult to connect with.  Sounds are more understandable, and they seem to go deeper.  Alas, this film is full of men with gravelly voices; they bark about honour, about peace, about killing their enemies.  Occasionally, they laugh.  There is silliness.  The Japanese seem well realized.  Old cultures are like that, I suppose.  They can lean on their history.

Young cultures look ahead for validation.  The familiar patterns of desire and attachment are evident whether it be a single person, a small group or a whole country.  Why not?  Nothing done by humans is bereft of human assumptions.  Somehow this is overlooked in the final evaluations.  We trust in so much nonsense and wonder why things get out of hand.  These silver screen samurai know better.  In a single scene, they are variously exuberant, morose, severe and light hearted as the situation demands.  They adapt perfectly despite their rigidity, and perhaps even because of it.  Their clothing is chosen, manners are well defined; they're oriented to the world by a system which they've been conditioned to respond to with a great deal of trust.  Without the burden of endless, superficial, stylistic decisions, they can react more naturally to what comes.  Is their nonsense better than our nonsense?  No, but they seem to have embraced it as such, whereas we tend to believe in what we see.  They're talking strategy now, bowing gracefully to each other despite the evident tension.  There's a battle taking shape.  They know what's at stake and still they laugh.  It's all just what it is, though it could easily be something different, something more humane, without losing any of its effectiveness.  But goons are goons the world 'round.  Manners are just manners. 

And greed is just greed.  The trouble with ego trips is that the return ticket is a bastard to get.  These journeys are indistinct, uncertain.  You feel yourself moving, are encouraged to move, but nobody can say what the destination is.  You're expected, so you go ahead confidently.  So much is left behind, so much more taken on.  Wanting is so easy and maybe that's the tip off.  That feeling of permanence you can buy into, but never really trust.  It's always "one of these days" or "wait and see" as though seeing were believing and believing could be enough to justify a lifetime of deception.  There's no salesman on earth more effective and dangerous than the one in your head, and none more easily defeatable.  What can we do, really.  Live in accordance with ideals that make us feel valid, leave alone what we can, and handle with care what we can't.  Is that naive?  Plenty would say so.  Plenty more would say it's narcissism to be so concerned with your own life.  I don't think that's true, it's just true with some.  All you really need is to need less.  Less talk, less stuff, less input.  Less as a principle, as a starting point.  And then, finally, less of less.
Wait and see.


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