Friday, August 7, 2009

nobody knew what was coming

that seems to be the essence of the human condition.

i spent the day with the photos of andre kertesz. they span 1912 to 1987. only the early ones have heart. the move from paris to new york took away his eyes. in hungary and france soft, round figures balanced the sharp shapes of the background, war and the city. america gave him too much geometry and not enough sympathy.

ach, that's a tangent. what i meant to say: those times before wars, between wars, the disasters and the peace, people acted as if this moment would last forever. and given the photographs, it has.

that said, it's so impossible to know what will come. how do we cope with this fact? well, we try to learn something about how to live. for example, in 'don't sweat the small stuff' richard carlson says, 'thoughts create emotions.' hmm, a very buddhist perception. put this way, it's hard to swallow. yet, if we can let the thoughts go, the emotions do calm down.

or, i toiled many years through books on zen and therapy. finally, i decided they both led to the same place: assuming your own authority. that's what enlightenment is. suddenly, you no longer have the passion to please and you don't fear death. realizing only you have the answers for yourself (not for others), you awaken to the moment in which you're living, and you stay there.

okay, the bottom drops out of the bucket, and the zen adept hears the crows. that's all there is to it. the responsibility for yourself conquers all.

let's take another tack. only a child can love, so you must become like a child. this doesn't exclude selfishness. after all, the desire to survive is part of love. and parents love to brag about their children. most wouldn't care to confess, 'my son's in san quention. killed a couple of people. the poor kid, he always did have a temper.' that story most likely goes untold. however, if he has five children, runs a corporation, well, that you can admit with love.

what would we do if we knew what was coming? even death up for grabs. eternal salvation, bliss, return, non-existence. the hope of the suicide is the resolution of inner tension. alas, the violence involved seems to cancel the advantage! if we knew what was coming, could we really be carefree?

my favorite saying found on a men's restroom in berkeley, california: the price of freedom is loneliness.

i don't know if i agree, however it always makes me pause for thought.

new photos at: