Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Manifestations of the 3-D Grid — Beyond Muryoju-do

A recurring motif — corridors running parallel and intersecting across all three axes. A first-person perspective wandering long, wide and deep in a anti-maze semblant, yet abstruse regarding purpose and direction.

One actualisation of this theme exhibited itself in the vicinity west of Tech. On a bachelor’s last night of revelry a double-decker was employed to traverse the town's hot spots. (It is unfortunate that a bottle of Old Grand-Dad was casualty to a sharp turn, as it had tumbled down the aisle and stairwell [90°], shattering all too close to the hapless driver.)
  After ritual humiliations at the Cheetah III, the crew retreated to the lone penthouse atop the old White Provision building. Merriment for the others ensued, but further investigation of the deserted structure found a labyrinth of hallways, dim stretches of concrete reminiscent of the old bunker that became Seaside Pungeonary.

A second exposition of the theme occurred near Kiyomizu-dera. A jaunt from the temple downhill through the valley of obelisks, one finds a windowless trapezoidal structure. Inside was a latticework of passages, alcove shrines in a haze of incense, and the droning sutra of meditations humming from within. (As it turns out, this building was a Buddhist columbarium known as the First Hall of Immeasurable Life.)

Two real-life instances that have triggered the memory of a frequent but oft-forgotten dream fragment. Surely, Freud, Jung and dream dictionary dilettantes would have a field day with armchair analyses.
  But let us look at the most obvious thing in common threading between dream and reality: the ever-present spirit of exploration, delineated upon the most basic schema of the conscious mind’s orientation — deportment of the physical in the three dimensions. The lasting impressions of geometric harmony in the columbarium raise considerations of “rebirth,” the Land of Bliss, and other levels in the Buddhist cosmology, in the context of the three dimensions we grasp with our senses and in our dreams.

Paradigm Para-digression:

Residents of Flatland could not perceive Spaceland, and those visiting from Spaceland would only appear as fleeting shapes, sectionals of solids passing through the plane.
  What lay beyond Spaceland? The Square posited the realm of Thoughtland, though the idea was found preposterous by the Sphere.

Johnny Gutts offers us a pithy pseudo-koan:
“As Prometheus gave us the flame, the sun grazed Icarus’ wings with the same. From Dharmakāya what can we claim?”

To the layman, a question echoes throughout those halls still:
“What is the geometric balance between curiosity, enlightenment and hubris?”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Salutatio: Semper nova fines

The red tacklebox and Zebco rod and reel sat in a corner of the garage. The dry smell of concrete hung in the afternoon June air with notes of turpentine and plywood. The young boy balanced the box and reel on the handlebars of his pushbike as he pitched down the driveway and onto the roadway.
 From Sheffield to Cambridge to Hurffville, the quiet sun beat down upon the bitumen. Crossing Greentree he pedalled up the hill on the road to Lac des Cloches.
 On arrival, the lake lay shimmering like glass beads cast into a warm broth of olive and amber. Down to the small wooden dock where the line is set with bobber, sinker, and hooked with a morsel of wet bread crust.
  Cast! with a plunk, the surface ripples with ringlets, faintly throwing shadows along the bottom a half metre below. A bite! Pull in a Sunny here and there. (What does one do with these palm-sized fish once they’re caught?)
 The sun arcs westward; in time, in solitude, in silence, the young man patiently waits for another bite. Why? It — “something” — awaits beneath the surface to be discovered, familiar or strange.
  Along comes a Bluegill, slowly eyeballing the bait. Gently it glides towards the hook with mouth curiously agape. A steady stare and grip by the 9-year-old is too much to maintain. Anticipation overwhelming, a slight twitch of the rod sends the fish darting off, mere centimetres from the simple lure.
“Rats.”
Sunnies were always easy to catch; a bite from a Bluegill was a little tougher to snag.

He collected his kit and wandered up the hill to the community pool to swim, dive, and swim some more. Swimming with mates, swimming alone, the warm, dank smell of the lake breezing over the cool, astringent chlorine air of the pool.
 A summer day much like any other — no adults, save the pool’s languid teenage lifeguard, or the lunch Mum had made earlier, which may have involved cottage cheese.
A day free of nannies, busybodies, jobsworths and helicopters.

——

A September venture on foot, beyond Nottingham, past Weasel’s abode, up the steep wooded slope, passing abandoned forts, making way upward. The tailored greenery at the hill’s plateau indicated potential encroachment, and so the trek is thus expedited.
 Through the trees, the party tramped along with pinestraw crunching underfoot; corrugated plastic covering troughs evidenced prior expeditions.
The forest broke to reveal an eroded horseshoe-shaped canyon, barren soil awaiting some developer’s future neighbourhood dream.
“It’s a whole new civilisation,” beamed the 9-year-old, eyeing waste yet picturing the heretofore unseen landscape with potential and the optimist's spirit.

The sun hung high as the three lads scouted the ravine with marked enthusiasm.
 An autumn day much like any other — no adults, save the bellowing man on the greenery shaking his golf club.
A day free of nannies, busybodies, jobsworths and helicopters.

——

Is the spark of curiosity and exploration innate in a young man? Of course. It can be nurtured indirectly enough by Mum yelling, “Get out of the house!”
Something will always beckon from beneath the lake’s expanse, from behind the curtain of trees, from beyond the sky and firmament.
 In the cacophony of today that “something” may indeed be difficult to hear. But what happens when the boys stop listening?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Die Worte zerschlagen das Bild: When Falls the Masque

The Image-Construct exists for everyone — from the apex of social echelons down to the very dregs of the populace. Sometimes it is manipulated explicitly on the macro level through PR, socio-political affiliations and speechifying, most often by celebrities, politicians and media figures. More commonly, the rest of society controls the Image-Construct implicitly on the micro level: Personal fashion, social circles and status markers.
Either way, the Image-Construct is too often lazily accepted as the True Self when it is actually a projection of the Public Self. This is regardless of Social Distance — the person could be lover, friend acquaintance, celebrity or world leader.

And then... inevitably some variation of the Kinsley Gaffe is caught when the mic slips, shredding the delicately devised mien:

• “People I don’t know are mean and must’ve cheated their way to where they are,” coming from one who has coat-tailed their way to power, never having had a day job, castigating those with merit and effort.
• High-IQ shut-ins who verbalise their Magical Thinking betray their delusions when using words like “empowerment” and “stripping” in the same sentence.
• “Sensitive” artsy souls clumsily blurt advice to high-IQ shut-ins: "Maybe you can get a job at that place that hires retards.”
Unconsidered words shrivel and rot the Image-Construct, whether coming from friends stretching to force-fit disintegrating puzzle pieces, or from Famous People distantly chiming in on subjects unrelated to their fame.
Honest words can be edifying in both a positive and negative manner, though no amount of charm or beauty can erase inner ugliness, once revealed.
The hero, demigoddess and stranger alike are equally susceptible to Image Taint without prudent elocution.