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The Ideal and the Practical — the Practice

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — cross-posted from BrownPundits in response to a friend’s comment there ]
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I’d written a response to @AnAn and included a quote from the Chuang Tzu’s chapter on Lord Wen-hui and what he learned from his Cook Ting, and wanted to throw in the following DoubleQuote — but graphics seem to be discouraged in the Comment sections here, so I’ve opened this post for the purpose:

The thing is, Lao Tzu offers us the ideal statement, formulated in terms of an impenetrable absence of space, and an absence of substance to the point of non-existence — while Chuang Tzu, peering over Lord Wen-hui’s shoulder right there in Cook Ting’s kitchen, offers us the same insight, couched in terms of there being “spaces between the joints” and his knife having “really no thickness” — Chuang Tzu’s measureless insight penetrates Lao Tzu’s impenetrable absolutes to show us there’s room for play there — “room — more than enough for the blade to play about in”.

If we bear these two versions of the same idea — formulated ideally and in practical terms by the two principle philosopher-poets of the Taoist school — in mind when our thoughts run up against the impracticality of an ideal, we may find, like Cook Ting, that we too have room enough room to play in.

And the Word was made Script and dwelt among us

Friday, June 7th, 2019

{ by Charles Cameron — the embodiment of the word in script affords calligraphers of all religious beliefs the opportunity to illuminate the written script with beauty }
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And the Word was made Script and dwelt among us…

This would describe the indwelling of the numinous presence within scriptures, a doctrine found in the Christian usage that terms the Bible the Word of God, and even more explicitly in the Islamic doctrine that the Qu’ran is the Word of God in a manner equivalent to the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation — that is to say, Christians teach that Jesus is the Word of God, Muslims that the Qu’ran is.

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Incunabula had tweeted:

The historian Tom Holland picked up on this, and commented:

How incredibly beautiful. It looks like something out of Rivendell.

H’e not the only one thinking along similar lines — there’s a Reddit that’s relevant here: The Tibetan Script looks much like Tengwar to me…could it have been Tolkien’s inspiration for written Elvish?. So let’s take a quick look:

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Let’s take a look: DoubleQuote:

Above, Tolkien’s Quenya script from the inside front leaf, lower border, of the first edition Lord of the Rings, in comparison with the silver Tibetan calligraphy of the interior of Incunabula’s Perfection of Wisdom in 100,000 Verses.

To be fair, Incunabula’s 13th-15th century work in gold and silver ink is a remarkable work of art, and it may be fair to compare it also —

—with the 9th century illuminated gospels of the Irish Book of Kells.

**

Beauty, anyway — the word becoming scripture in script offers us a manner in which some glimpses of beauty — transcendent sister of goodness and truth — beauty become word..

Alchemies of church & bookstore, French Open court & gardens

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — two instances of somewhat unexpected balance ]
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Here, first, something you’ve already seen — the Maastricht bookstore in a restored church, arguably an instance of word being made flesh:

and the gardens now surrounding the clay court on which the French Open is played:

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Sources:

  • Marcus Fairs, A shop in a church by Merkx + Girod Architecten
  • Gerald Marzorati, How the French Turned a Tennis Court Into a Garden
  • **

    I say alchemy because marriages of hard and soft, above and below, word and flesh, have it in common that they bridge significant metaphysical divides — like the fall of the Berlin wall, to take a political equivalent within living memory — and thus perform a healing work.

    Tikkun olam.

    Venezuela: The Body Politic

    Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — zen mind would be blanker than mine, but mine’s getting pretty blank — evidence in the post below ]
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    I’m DoubleQuoting that with:

    **

    Sources:

  • Jon Lee Anderson, Venezuela’s Two Presidents Collide
  • Michael Gazzaniga, Why do some people have ‘two brains’?
  • **

    So the body politic of Venezuela is currently of two minds.

  • Think about what you know of the two hemispheres
  • Think about what you know of schizophrenia
  • Think about what you know of the King’s Two Bodies
  • That’s a nudge. You may well be able to think thoughts along these lines far better than I. Ergo, I won’t do your thinking for you. Besides, if I did, I’d need to do three whole heaps of research, and my library is in storage, my mind in limbo.

    **

    Limbo?

    How anyone can conflate, or almost conflate, schizophrenia with lateral specialization with Kantorowicz’ theory of monarchy is, frankly, beyond me. But I’ve tried.

    Humanimals, a once-shamanic trope in TV commercial magic

    Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Mickey Mouse, eat your heart out ]
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    Latter-day Disnanimals lack both the honest brutality Grimm‘s sometimes grim tales provide, and the sexual honesty of the Coyote tales as recorded by Paul Radin. Even in currently acceptable form, however, the second cousins twice removed of shamanic human-animals featured in current TV commercials retain their potential for humor and an eye-catching display of the varieties of human emotion.

    **

    Let’s start with the tiger-cub nicely portrayed in this ad:

    The cub is fascinated by its “real life” putative ancestor — but sadly, after a brief inspection, the parent-tiger turns away..

    Quite how the Emu here figures that the emu in the mirroring glass “looks like” him or her I’ll never know. Does she or he keep a small mirror under his or her wing, to preen on — oh, hell! theirself — in idle moments?:

    It’s instructive to compare this, earlier [2011?] Cold Turkey

    with this very recent — and brilliantly executed — Slow Turkey camping:

    Love that whole series, btw..

    And how can I miss this sporting Walrus?

    Short form of this post: we identify with animals much as we do with humans

    **

    I’ll deal with Jaguar in my next post


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