Some art forms simply grow impractical as systems of efficiency and economy dominate old artistic principles of dedication, discipline & quality. Artistic technique and intuition used to take a lifetime to develop under a mentor that spent a lifetime learning from a previous generation. Skills like woodworking, painting, architecture; the kinds of things that you can’t price by the production hour. It seems that fewer people invest that depth of training with every generation.
We enter an accelerating time when the previous era’s wisdom is often lost and replaced with new techniques and technologies. This trend is an accelerating phenomenon and for the first time, virtually none of our generation’s new tools will be handed down to the next generation because the next generation won’t need them. They will evolve so far and so fast within our generation that they will cease to be recognizable as their origin.
There will cease to be a continuity of “literacy.” Our successors will have new tools and new “languages” by which they learn to use them.
Will we be able to impart some wisdom, understanding, know-how that they will value or will they look at us as irrelevant relics from a time gone by? I think I’m starting to understand the Amish.
It’s hard to make the argument that someone that has been repeatedly denied a green card and has essentially been in the country less-than-legally since the mid 90s should be allowed to stay, in violation of all established policy, simply because he’s popular. Intellectually, politically, I have a hard time supporting his case.
But let’s suspend litigious reason and just respect that the man loves his home, the United States, and makes a more than significant contribution to our creative culture. Thelonious Monk was an outlaw but his contribution is undeniable. The Dalai Lama is an outlaw too. I know, that’s a little ridiculous, but soak in the example.
Let’s put it in political terms and recognize that the man is influential in a significant way. Why not make him an offer? : Stay in the US & keep doing what he does. This man is not here legally, true. Also true: He’s not a threat. More true than that: He is an inspiration. Allow him to mentor some brilliant children & pay some taxes. It’s win win.
Making a negative example of him to prosecute the problematic “rest” is less intelligent than harnessing the positive example he has cultivated.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few”.
– Shunryu Suzuki
I’ve begun reading Suzuki’s book “Beginner’s Mind” many times without remaining focused to finish. Ironic. The expert’s “few” is guided by the wisdom of experience, knowing much of why the beginner’s “many” may not work out. I think the point is not that one is preferable but that gaining experience is only advantageous if we do not abandon our imagination. We should remain open to uncharted possibility first and foresee barriers second.
Our experiences are tattooed in our minds, on our souls, in our behaviors. The semiotic representation of life’s milestones in ink on flesh is a conscious attempt to anchor, if not honor, these intangible realities in a physical way.
Even if memories fade, tattoos remind. Ink is scarred to skin at a moment in time and the tattoo forever echoes the moment of scarification and the significance of the experience the scar is intended to re-present. The art/scar lives as long as the wearer but ultimately fades like a memory with life.
Tattoo, as a piece of contemporary human culture, anchors us to the here and now of our collective survival-mind or the dual enlightened animal-ness of humanity and all that comes with it.
A friend of mine once said, “I think if you feel sane 100% of the time, you’re not working with much horsepower.”
I like that. We all find our boundaries. Our thresholds. The only way we find them is to push them. If we never push them we’re probably bored. I don’t mind being crazy and happy. It’s sane and miserable that’s threatening. Plain. Complacent. Bored. Those are “sins.”
Crazy is a relative term. If you aren’t charting the accepted normal then you’re living in the crazy. The definition requires a common and shared agreement of normal to contrast. I don’t mean “crazy” like a fun loving party animal or some sort of safe wackiness. I mean getting face to face with fears and insecurities and challenges and growth; planning, building, tearing down and building better. Going into the wilderness and coming out again. Breaking into the fresh marrow of innate character and soul. True grit arriving at eventual, temporary, elevated peace.
There’s an Ayn Rand quote about Society that goes: “The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”
A reflexive proof of that quote relating to Self might go “The hardest thing to see is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to explain.” Sometimes the most poignant truth is the one that no one will tell you. It’s so true that no one feels it’s their duty point it out. Rather than over work that notion I’ll just leave it at that.
When we are children ordinary things seem grand. Maybe it’s because our minds and perceptions are still forming. Maybe it’s because we’re small and almost everything in the “world” is designed for fully grown adults.
As adults we might benefit to see ordinary things as the miracles that they are. The mysteries behind the facts. I don’t think any rational person can explain to me exactly how or why my skin heals when I am cut. We can explain the mechanics of it and describe the process but that’s not what a child is asking when he or she says “how?” or “why?”
I find myself practicing to remember to see things in their real amazingness. Do I have to practice seeing beauty in the sky? Actually, I do. As we spend more time in our lives we become unwise and then remembering how to regain our wonder makes us wise again.
Generational values. As a kid I could not comprehend myself as an adult.
Growing up would happen. I had no idea what it would make me. Vital and lucidly aware of my young blood spirit was all I was to myself into my twenties.
I distrusted that learning gained through maturation would make me forget what I know. Like my soul was a backpack that I had carefully filled and any new experiential conditioning might require me to abandon my dearest constructs.
It seemed that people grew up and figured out how to navigate adult life and this knowledge displaced what they used to know. It seemed like they gained a lot of important understanding but did they forget the rest? or abandon it on purpose? or simply evolve past it?
From a child’s viewpoint it can’t be known. What I know in retrospect is that real rebellion and individualism is not fashionable, principle and character are nothing without it. And vice versa.