Buddhism, education, James Joyce, Life, School, Sexism, sexuality, spirituality, Ulysses, Zen
Response to an idea filled comment:
More words, words, words.
But alright, Slovenly, I’ll try another tack.
People come to the Omphalos Cafe, and I’ve been doing a blog for nearly ten years I’d guess, with ideas, mostly learned in the classroom, though in reality the acquiring of ideas starts at a very early age.
Similarly, they come to James Joyce with a great many ideas, many of which you can get an introduction to by the taking in of what is offered across the net.
Nancy, as most other people, including you, came here with ideas. Two of which might be distilled to ‘equality’ and a perceived prevalence of ‘sexism.’
Let me begin with the first: equality. Honestly, open your eyes and look out upon the world and give me one instance of ‘equality.’ Just one. Because the reality, and I’m talking the absolute reality here, is that there is nothing equal under the sun. It is a nice idea, but it has no basis in reality.
Are you and I ‘equal?’ Now this is not a value judgement here. This is not ‘I’m better and you’re worse,’ it is just reality. I might be bigger, I might be smaller, I’m probably older, and as to our brain’s retentive capacity, who knows and who really cares? There is character and the fire of Life and we have the ability to harness these, but they are never equal. Equality is an idea people bring here and I’m not interested in ideas, Slovenly, I’m interested in Life.
Hence my exhortation to ‘grow up.’ That is, get past the reliance and hard shield of ideas society has foisted upon you and take a good hard look at the world as it is, not as we’ve been taught it ‘should’ or ‘could’ or ‘will one day’ be.
Next: ‘sexism.’ Sex is everywhere. It is the great dynamic of life. And I’m not talking about a crude act here, I’m talking about the great intertwined dance of Life. Which is actually the great realization that Joyce is giving artistic form to in Ulysses.
Are you really trying to tell me that men and women are ‘equal?’ And again, there is no value judgement in that question. But to assert that men and women in fact are ‘equal’ is to betray a foolish young naiveté, an immaturity, or perhaps a deep and unconscious rejection of Life.
Stephen meets Bloom and beyond awakening to compassion towards another, he as an artist is coming into contact with a man who in this case was initially out of living dynamic relation with woman but who will in the course of the day come back into that dynamic state of dance, of tension and mutual attraction/repulsion, whatever you might call it.
I’m talking the great Yin Yang of Life. And you know what? Bloom and Molly end their day in the Yin Yang position in bed too!
Again, I’m not talking ideas here, Slovenly. I’m talking, as Elie Faure put it in the title of a book focusing on the stupendous challenge of the genuine artist: ‘The Dance Over Fire and Water.’
Arrogance? Not really. Just don’t bring you’re old and tired out ideas here. They have nothing to do with what’s going on. They have nothing to do with Life, and as I’ve repeatedly said: Life is ALL there is. As my title of the Dedalusday video continued: there is no such thing as thinking outside the box, because thinking IS the box!
That’s enough for now. I honestly don’t care what other people think, Slovenly. Our ideas get in the way of a genuine connection and experience of Life. All the great artists have come to know that and strive to communicate it, but time and time again people bring their ideas to bare and utterly miss the point as a result.
We live in the age of idea, while reality seems to threaten to swamp us from every direction. The chasm between idea and reality is widening, but to me reality is just biding its time. Unless something changes, unless our ideas shift, reality will probably give us all a good kick in the pants one day.
But actually, that’s ok by me, being reality too.
That’s what I meant when I responded to Nancy with things are perfect just as they are, right now, today. The Kingdom of Heaven is right here around you and you don’t even know it. This is Life, right here and now. I say celebrate it, which is the aim of the Cafe at heart.
You are it, Slovenly. Not your ideas, not what you’ve been taught, but you. Not the idea or ideal you cling to of yourself, not the static image your brain has stored away based on reflections in mirrors. Not your perceived self-worth, status, position or job in society. You, freed from all those categories.
That’s Bloom and Stephen in Ulysses, beyond categories, undefinable. In flow.
Have a nice day, Slovenly.
Peace, in the dance….
Randall Owen said:
I love this. Does the Cafe have a Facebook page and are you on Twitter. I will use a quote if I may from a writer I love to say why I ask.
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead (not you of course🤣). And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours”
— Alan Bennett. The History Boys.
I love the YouTube site and of course subscribe. Good luck for the future.
Thanks Randall, I appreciate that, and I appreciate the quote. In the end, the Cafe, both blog and YouTube, are the fruit of that sort of learning, one based on an active search and the ecstasy of discovery. Ecstasy in the sense of ex-stasis that is. It’s time consuming, and may even morph into life consuming, but for me at least it’s been a rich and rewarding experience.
But Facebook and Twitter? No, they’re too easy and they take away the ‘active’ component of the search. Even YouTube has begun to bore me in a way. People can and do flip from one video to the next. It’s passive. They don’t have to invest much. Here on the blog I make a point of not trying to spread the word or market the site in any way, the idea being people have to somehow find their way here and then spend a little time reading, maybe even reflecting on not only what I’m saying, but what I’m trying to say.
Anyway, thanks again and all the best in your journey.
Randall Owen said:
Thank you Jeff, understood and respected. Looking forward to reading the blog for many years to come.