Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Utility of A "Stone Boat"

'A lot of comedians are very troubled people by the way...' ~ Dr Gabor Mate.

Our society has subscribed fully, impressively, recklessly to a notion of sacrifice. I don't know when or where and why, but we now celebrate the martyr and live in a cult of suffering.

It isn't Jesus. Jesus is okay, though I am persuaded by the charismatic Christopher Hitchens, that Christianity is a cult of suffering. Because it's more recent than that, more recent than capitalism as an ideology.

Capitalism, as practiced, as it exists as a lot of problems, but at it's core in it's naive conception it was underpinned by the notion 'we can all prosper together' which I'm sure has something to do with it's wide subscription. We subscribe wishfully, not empirically.

What prevails is the idea of sacrifice, that it isn't possible to progress or advance without some sacrifice. We praise Steve Jobs as a genius of our times, yet the man died of cancer. Bill Gates who does seem to have it all has been out of vogue for two decades almost. Eric Clapton overcomes his heroin addiction, wins a stack of Grammy's, is still alive to this day. Yet it is broke and abused Jimi Hendrix that died face down in a pool of his own vomit that is more celebrated.

We find something comforting about the tortured genius, we find some strange comfort in their incompleteness. The self defeating example of their lives. Hendrix is dead, did he ever find true love and acceptance? Did he have a safe place? Forget the music he never composed, he lost the opportunity to pursue happiness when he died.

Jobs had the world of nerds in his hands dancing, yet his cancer must have been incredibly painful, for him and those who loved him, a painful end.

In the modern era, we value the tortured soul as somehow worthier than that of the sage.

People who can render great benefit to others yet are unable to save themselves. We are being sold this story and we are buying it.

Japan has evolved into perhaps the most masochistic of cultures in the world, yet go back 3 centuries, and look at the decidedly un-japanese genius of that era.

Miyamoto Musashi died at the age of 60. What was his genius? Mortal combat, his very lifestyle was putting himself deliberately (and consensually) into mortal danger. He did not die in combat, he had many famous duels some of them resulting in the death(s) of his opponent(s). Yet he grew old and died, of cancer and his final work really is a sad tale of self-repression, but still compared to the life-span of his European counterparts Musashi lived 3 lifetimes, genius used to be the reverse of the 27 club. Everybody died at 27 unless you were a genius.

Then there's Yagyu Sekishusai, 'The Stone Boat' died at 78. His genius? Mortal combat again. Also regarded as invincible, I read his grandson's book. Where Musashi was invincible carrying two swords though, Yagyu was invincible fighting with no swords. He didn't need to draw against his opponent. He didn't even need to bear arms. This man had it all, by his full maturity.

He allegedly was not without crisis. He did withdraw, seeing no point in anything beyond his swordsmanship and described even that as having 'the utility of a stone boat'

I wish to rededicate my life to pursuing this kind of genius. This sage like genius. I've realised in the past week that I am still very immature. Incredibly immature. The thought excites me with possibilities.


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