Thursday, June 4, 2009

Number Two (नम्बर तवो)

An experiment won't have a reliable outcome if the variables aren't stable: I haven't written in ages, and since I made such a fuss about Vonnegut in the last post I'm also doing a poor job honoring the man with all these colons (a punctuation mark he's said to have loathed). Alas, I'll get to the point with a marching band outside of my window, whistles marking the beats. The other night I went to a modern dance performance called Nearly Ninety at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, or B.A.M., my first since moving to New York two months ago. In fact, it was the first modern dance I've attended at all, and judging by the New York Times' review, a very good one to start with (the author calls the choreographer Merce Cunningham "the greatest living artist since the death of Samuel Beckett 20 years ago"). Atop what looked like an architectural egg, Sonic Youth(!), Japanese violinist Takehisa Kosugi, and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones (!) plucked guitar strings, shook paperclips and distorted sounds while dancers in two, threes, and fours moved about the stage in precise chaos. I spent most of the performance trying to construct a story: modern humans are suffocated by the industrial nature of the present. The organic realm withers, slowly, until we see that man is actually evolving. Like ivy covering a two story highway barrier, the automatic will to live succeeds, supplanting past restrictions and notions that we are a staid species. I may be projecting my own beliefs upon an abstract creation, but I feel strongly, either way, of our ability to adapt. Beyond physical evolution, of course, I believe it is our responsibility to sustain relationships with the earth and each other that bolster mental and physical happiness.
  • on a side note I am reading the most amazing thing I've come across in my life. Actually it was a gift from my father, a book called Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. It dwells heavily upon metta, the Pali (Buddhist) word for loving kindness. The books holds all sorts of loveliness, including the importance of mental and physical happiness, freedom from danger and ease of well-being. I would suggest everyone read this book.

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