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Showing posts from November, 2006

On Forgiveness

What does it mean to forgive?

I have been asking that question recently. Very easily we say we know what it means and what it takes to forgive but when, pushed to the brink where the ability or inability to forgive begins to carry weight, we suddenly find ourselves asking what it really means. I keep saying to my mind that it's time to forgive, but these are mere words and words that do not as yet mean much. It's as if I know that it is the next natural step in my mind but I don't see myself taking that very step yet. Forgive, forgive. . . what in the world does that mean?

Do I forget? If it meant forgetting then clearly I haven't forgiven. It's not that I consciously try to remember; the mind feasts on the very wounds it has obtained in the past. It's all automatic and I have tried to let it be, to acknowledge the memories and leave them neutral without carrying emotions any more. I'm no match for the strength of the mind and its visual plays; better to lea…

On Transitions

For Jope



Midway in our life's journey,
I went astray from the straight road
and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.

Dante, The Inferno






The difficulty with transitions is that there is almost nothing to say as one goes through with it.

The dazzling beginning always carries with it the promise of hope and the brilliant light of a new day. The triumphant arrival or accomplishment is marked by the jubilation of overcoming the odds and the dizzying happiness that success brings. But there is nothing to hope for nor to show for after the first step and before the last; and it is in that ambiguous middle -- neither there no more, but not yet here -- that silence, like darkness, comes to the fore.

It is no coincidence that the medieval period was called the middle ages. It was named that way because it was seen to be the transition between the glory of the classical era and the reestablishment of the modern world. And this period was also called the Dark Ages to perhaps describe the …

The Photographer

"The world is deep;
deeper than day can comprehend."

Nietzsche





To see the world through the lens is to present it in a way other than how we see it with our eyes. That landscape or that smile can both be so familiar to us already; but when seen in a photograph, it must be able to summarize in one aspect the totality of all its manifestations in one showing. Immortalized in a mere snapshot, what is presented strikes for itself a claim in our visual world and memory. It gathers itself in one showing that reveals all there is to be revealed and in that very giving hides all that can be hidden from view. For the most revealing photographs are those that show that there lies something hidden in those eyes or something beyond that horizon. So the subject is in a difficult position of balancing what can be shown and what can be withheld, or what can mean something or what points to something else. For to reveal too much would endanger its becoming a symbol, and to hide everything woul…

Shadow Boxing

How many days have I lost?

A hundred or more already. A few recently. The thing with it is that when the bell rings you have no way of winning but by lasting the fight. No sense in becoming the aggressor and belting out your strongest punches hoping for a quick knockout. The enemy expects you to pour it out in the opening and so he slides back and dances around waiting to exhaust you. But he is ready to go the distance and see you drop in the end. These bouts are never four-rounders. They come in sprints and they wear you down.

But I've been learning. I've been learning not to force the issue and try to win them all. It's humbling you know -- to admit that you can't even control your self much more your own body. I've learned that the more you try to fight back, the more harm it can cause you. Lose this battle so that you can win the war. We are each given our own battles and the victory starts by claiming this battle as my own. It can't be too bad; the difficu…

The Folly of Apollo

Legend has it that the sun god and mighty archer Apollo one day found Cupid playing with his bow and arrow. Apollo chided the young child saying that he is the mightier marksman between the two. Cupid, whose arrows never failed to make those it hits fall with desire for a beloved, was insulted. He said that his arrows are far mightier than Apollo's and he was going to prove it.

So Cupid took two arrows from his quiver. One was an arrow which makes the one hit by it desire an other relentlessly and tirelessly so as to never give up; the other was to make the one struck by it flee anyone who desires him or her as to never give back any love. When Apollo was not watching, Cupid hit Apollo with the arrow of desire while the arrow of despise hit a beautiful lady named Daphne. Apollo never knew what hit him and so did Daphne. But when Apollo saw how beautiful Daphne was, he fell in love with her and immediately tried to approach her. But upon seeing the bedazzled sun god, Daphne ran away…

On Letting Go

And when this detachment ascends to the highest place, it knows nothing of knowing, it loves nothing of loving, and from light it becomes dark.
Meister Eckhart




Letting something go initially implies a double movement. To be released toward things is also to be released from something that holds us back. But it is only in being released from what that which holds us back that we can be released toward what truly concerns us. Or inversely, it is only in being released toward what concerns us that we are released from what holds us. This is the movement of releasement: a to and fro, a toward and from. It is an active movement (going toward something) which is at the same time a passive movement (going away from something). What is peculiar to this active and passive motion is that nothing is done to that which is left behind in the act of moving away inasmuch as abandoning something is to leave that which is left as it is; what is left is left to be what it is. But nothing is also done to …

Vita Nova

Vitam impendere vero

Juvenal



There is no love of life without despair of life

Camus






Her apartment was on the twenty-third floor of a luxurious suite the kind in which top executives stay. She was a foreign executive, to be sure, and the chauffeur waiting outside by the car made sure that there was no confusion. I was a bit anxious on my way to her door. I'm never used to going to people's, even friends' houses and so I didn't know how to play the guest as I am usually the host. I heard something playing inside so I knew it was the right door. It was an upbeat song. The door reeked with happiness. She is only twenty-six.

She was putting something in the toaster when she opened the door for her guest. She did not show the weary signs of going through a long day of work and a three-hour flight. The cold rushed from inside to greet me. We gave each other a hug and the usual pleasantries. She quickly returned to what she was heating as I wandered around her apartment gushing.…