Saturday, October 24, 2009

Masahiko and Katherine

I was having a conversation with my best friend Masahiko Shimada at a public lecture in Tokyo. Masahiko is a famous writer. Masahiko opened the dialogue with a criticism of the global capitalism. Then our topic shifted to how we all invariably fail.

Failure comes from facing the truth. In our mind, across our hearts, there are elements which lead to demise of the protagonist if he or she is true to them. The world is after all an imperfect place. Following the inner voice inevitably leads to disaster. Heroes and villains fail alike.

The good thing is that there will be always reincarnations, in this life.

In this life.

On the way to the public lecture I suddenly remembered how I used to love the short stories by Katherine Mansfield. The qualia in "The Garden Party" resonated as I headed for the imagined kingdom of freedom and demise.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Failure is a touchstone between self and others. It reflects unexpected truth.
Yes, we are always reincarnations molting thanks to painful failure.

Kanak said...

I used to think that the world should be upside down at least once.
Now I realize it should happen again and again in order that the whole world lives as an organism.
Being "singularity".
It sounds far more interesting than sticking to things that have nothing but popularity.
I agree with you. The times will find them before long.

EdoRiver said...

I am looking between the 5th and 6th lines for the missing thoughts. I don't know, if you agree or disagree with Shimada-san. Secondly it depends on what you mean by the consequences of "facing the truth". Isn't truth quite subjective? Couldn't it could be that what we "face" has been created by our own desires? If so, it would seem to be foolhardy that the inner self would guide itself towards "disaster" (whatever that means). I don't think that failure is inevitable, or that all heroes/villains have failed (As I write this I am thinking of The Rolling Stones song's words, "No one knows what its like to be a sad man, a bad man behind blue eyes...") if one tries to look from a higher point that encompasses the longer view. I am guessing that "reincarnation" is just the short term point of view rotating over to the beginning again, but continuing along an agreeable path.

Speaking of reincarnation. I would say that it not only happens in this life, it happens that the wheel of life rotates around a countless number of times in one day. Selfish actions lead to a kind of temporary death, like a mini-heart attack, and generosity or sincere apology leads to rebirth. So we are reborn when we make amends after an argument, and suffer a kind of death possibly minutes later after failing to be completely honest on our tax returns. If we have sufficiently incorporated an internal guidance system, we don't need an outside villain or hero. We are both, from episode to episode in our life of activity and opinions, habits, desires, and vanities, legions upon legions. JMO

砂山鉄夫(Tetsu Sunayama) said...

I'm ashamed to say I read Katherine Mansfield for the first time today. Thank you for your introduction.

I opened my eyes wide for her literary style. It is simple, naive, and very poetic. I read aloud today.

I don't know the difficult literary argument on her works.

But, I heard music in her writing. The tone color is like Debussy and like Satie...

Tiptree said...

Facing the truth is important in the world. She or he, as a human being, needs to know the truth even if it will lead to disaster or failure because as long as one knows the truth, she or he will be at the right place in which one should be involved, and from which one should be able to see the true guiding light.

(ma)gog said...

"The Garden Party" by Katherine Mansfield, "Immensee" by Theodor Strom, "For Esme'-with Love and Squalor" by J.D.Salinger are the three short stories which I repeatedly read in my youth.