Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014.10.26 — Upanishads, Making God Small and The Beauty of Beauty Fushigis*

Out of the blue, The Upanishads have jumped into my life with a quick pair of peculiar and, perhaps, blog-worthy fushigi. (And provide me with an opportunity to blog one of my stories! Oh frabjous day, callooh callay!)

The 1st Upanishads fushigi was set up with a small fushigi that began 2014.10.14 with my resuming to read Your God is Too Small by JB Philips in the morning before work. I sticky-noted what I'd read then because I felt I would refer to his argument when I wrote my review of the book. On the sticky I had written “The physical [is seen by Philips as] less beautiful [than the metaphysical that exists in our hearts and imaginations].” I read in Philips’ argument that he considers the existence of physical beauty as a pale simulacrum of a meta-beauty that is to be found where God resides. (This follows the Greek idea of an image of life that is outside life and which fallible life aspires to grow towards.)

Philips makes the argument that the existence of beauty is a suggestion supporting the existence of something beyond the limits of somatic reality, a hint of ‘God,’ so to speak.
Is it possible that beauty is a hint of the real and true and permanent…? No one, of course, can say. But the appeal of beauty which is universal, however distorted or debased it may have become, cannot be lightly dismissed. It is a pointer to something, and it certainly points to something beyond the present limitations of time and space. We can at any rate say that beauty arouses a hunger and a longing which is never satisfied (and some would say never can be satisfied) in this world (p68).
When I got to work, my intuition directed me to do something I haven’t done in perhaps a year, which was to read a particular post in a poetry group that I belong to on Goodreads, called The Boathouse. At one time I was very active in that group but, like my blogging, I have not been active of late because of a general time of busy-ness in life. I have no idea why I visited that particular post with the (to me obscure and completely unknown) title Dana Giola by Ruth. She had been to see the poet (I didn’t know that until I Wikied him) give a talk. From it she related the following observation:
Right on point was his topic, "Beauty." He defined it not as something pretty, but as something exactly right, a beautiful sunset, or a cruel hawk sweeping down on his prey.

He thinks there is not enough beauty in the contemporary US. He particularly cited the buildings. I have an idea that I might consider beautiful some buildings he would hate. But I have to agree with him about schools and public buildings which are utilitarian, but have no grace.
This lead to a typical discussion from several members of the group over the course of a week on the immemorial problem that one man’s beauty is another person’s ugly. I have no idea what drew me to join the discussion, but I did, and posted a comment only because of the fushigi of having read beauty defined an hour to two earlier.

On the morning of the twentieth I read RTO’s comments, and while driving in to work … well. Here is what I posted in that thread:
While driving into work this morning I was thinking about RTO's conflation of mind brain and ego. And I was thinking that with the body we easily distinguish between the function of a toe and an elbow, even though they are coterminous with 'body.' It would seem, logically, for things to be coterminous does not preclude distinction of function and perception of that function.

And I was also thinking, as to the specific notion of 'spirituality,' that one of the severe problems of existence is its existence. If nothing existed before something did, how did something arise from nothing? Old question of course, but given the way matter is being found nebulous and untouchable with modern physical examination, it is not facile to ascribe matter as a spiritual expression: in that it is because it is and predates logic and mind and the ability to be explained except vaguely and inconsistently. And if matter is, then the limitation of spiritual expression to 'just' a mind/body function is problematic: where does spirit in matter end and the 'fact' of the matter begin? And we enter the tail chasing dog arguments again, which makes me smile.

Anyway, I wasn't going to post these meaningless mindless (mindful?) meanders except that as I was pondering them, in a kind of fushigi, my intuitive function asked me to open a copy of The Upanishads I have at my desk. (I haven't actually read it, but keep threatening to.) But this morning I flipped it open, randomly, to Ch.10.2 of Chandpogya VI.II.
...good lad, all creatures, once they have come forth from being, do not know that they have come forth from being. Whatever they are here — a tiger, a lion, a wolf, a boar, a worm, a flying thing, a gnat, a mosquito — they become that.

This subtle part is what all this has as self. It is truth: it is the self. You are that...
Well, I found this funny. Well, the whole enchilada, which in all likelyhood doesn't really exist except as that which creates gas! LOL! Have a good day. My work function calls.
The 2nd Upanishads fushigi began 2014.10.26 in the morning with my getting notice that one of my short stories on the UK reading/writing site ReadWave, “The Unwritten Room,” has officially become popular in the USA with it having reached the milestone of 50 US reads.

When I finished my busy Sunday, I came upstairs a bit tired, and thinking I’d like to blog my Upanishads’ fushigi, and so picked up the book. But I wondered if I might something else amusing and perhaps enlightening in it. And so I flipped it open and stopped on Book III. I was surprised and delighted to see that not only did what I flip to correspond to the beauty discussion, but it connected it to ‘The Unwritten Room’ and to JB Bishop too! Here is the opening to my story:
My Janelle. To think
I once dipped strands of her hair
in India ink!

It, the BIG it, has been called by physicists string theory. I have frequently wondered at that. Why not call it strand theory?
This is what I read in The Upanishads:
… the five subtle elements are called by the name ‘element’, and the five gross elements are called by the name ‘element’. ‘Their coming together is called ‘the body’. So the one who is said to be ‘the self in the body’ is said to be ‘the elemental self’. This self is to that one as a drop of water to the blue lotus on which it rests. The elemental self is overcome by the strands of nature. Because it is overcome, it falls into utter delusion. Because of this utter delusion, it has not seen him resting in the self — the lord, the blessed one, the causer of action. Delighting in the mass of strands and grown dirty, unsteadiest, fickle, utterly bewildered, full of yearning, distracted, it falls into conceitedness. ‘I am this: this is mine”: thinking like this, it binds itself with itself like a bird with a net. Overcome by the fruits that follow on from action, he wanders around (356, my emphasis).
To repeat myself: I find these funny. And, in their own way, very beautiful.

2014.10.28 Fushigi Addendum

The fushigi extended itself the day after I blogged this when I went into The WSS / Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company to see about entering this week’s Poetry Stuffage contest, the theme of which turned out to be 'A Winding Road'. And I was delighted and surprised to see this little fushigi continue with the title of M’s entry of the week: Unwritten Things. (It is a beautifully written villanelle!)

And so it seems to go, the winding road of fushigi appears to be an endless one.

P.S.: I did write a poem, too. Here it is:
The Road Not There

The rock, that rock looked familiar to me.
Had I seen it before, really? When? When!?
I stopped walking,
affirming with words directed to it in waves of air,
‘I do not know you you are a stranger to me!”
I looked at it and felt a tickle of dread, fear,
burble up up from a depth of darkness I didn’t want to know I knew.
I had seen it before, of that I am sure.
This winding road to nowhere is not endless.

My thoughts begin to tumble with the unstoppable possibility
that I had been on this road before and before that too.
I notice this rock’s familiarity. Noticed it today.
And that makes today special in some unperceivable way
because all the other days I’ve passed this way before have been forgotten
even as this winding road has been whiling me down its easy slope and pretty views.

The certainty of truth I had has become sand.
The feeling of earth’s rock hard knock hard lessons are fled.
When the spinning in my head stopped
And the clock spring on my watch stopped winding itself down
I turned and saw that the road I was on wasn’t there anymore.
The nowhere I was at awed me
Because there was nowhere left for me to go.

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