Sunday, 31 December 2017
Contemplations On The Turn Of The Year
In the course of my Mystic Meg style peregrinations through life, one of the things I was most often called upon to do was to contemplate upon the sword. This was basically one of those Zen-type exercises designed to purge and still the mind. In order to fulfil the same purpose, the sword could just as easily have been replaced with a candle, a slinky, or a sex toy.
But one of the things I never really thought much about, until recently, was what lessons might be learnt from such contemplation. What gain or advantage might be accrued from paying close attention to the process as well as to the goal.
What would tend to happen would be a mental dissection. The various components of the sword would be weighed and examined, and then the whole would be put back together, and what the contemplation mostly consisted of was purpose. What is a sword actually for? By which is meant, what is it made and designed to do? This is deceptively simple. A sword is made for cutting. It is first and foremost a cutting edge, shaped for leverage, and modified for defensive as well as offensive capability. But first and foremost, it is for cutting. And because it is a weapon, it is made for cutting people. So, in its simplest and most essential form, a sword is a hateful thing.
And what if we apply the same principle to the contemplation of a person? A person is admittedly a much more complex object than a sword, but it should still be possible to determine what a person was made and designed to do. Essentially, a person is designed to create other people, to keep itself alive, and to fulfil its needs and desires. In order to do this, it needs other people, so, just as a sword is weighted and guarded to serve for defence as well as offence, a person is equipped with various delusions and chemical reactions designed to help it bond with other people. So, in its simplest and most essential form, a person is a purposeless and contemptible thing.
But neither swords nor people are limited to their simplest or most essential functions. In both cases, careful and intelligent usage, application, and refinement, can help both swords and people to transcend their base purposes. A sword can become a means for the attainment of high and complex physical and spiritual goals. And so too, a person can become an agent for real and positive internal and external transformation. And it is this transcendence, above all, which can be taken as the highest, most worthy work of being or using either.
Which I think is worth thinking about, especially on the one night of the year when, to all intents and purposes, reduction to base function - eat, drink, fuck, fight - is considered not only permissible, but desirable.