I’m on top of the mountain and fly with the eagles of Norway. I look down on the green waters and see fish. Lots of fish. They say that birds are a higher form of evolution of the fish kingdom. I like fish, even though most of them have small bones. Hardly ever a strong stamina. They are good at adapting, and being malleable, and all that. But they would never understand an uncompromising bird that would insist on breaking a wing before changing its mind. Birds are air animals, and some like to shit on the heads of tall statues. In Romania, where I come from, most statues of Lenin and Stalin have a crown on top made of sharp blades. Some birds fly straight into them – they don’t get the point about the communists trying to prevent the occurrence of immoral acts, such as being free and independent.
So, while flying I get this idea, inspired also by the zoological narrative which has it that while the chimpanzee has 13 ribs and homo sapiens only 12, it goes without saying that when God decided to take a rib out of Adam to create the woman, he was thinking about her as a higher form of evolution than the other species. With Adam being demoted and all that, it also goes without saying that he was unable to see that logic, of the higher self. Consequently he argued for millennia that Eve was his inferior. Therefore she had to submit to him, and cook for him, and give him children, and all that nonsense. So I get this idea that perhaps while flying, one could speak the language of the birds, go back to more commonsensical times. Back in time, the time before Adam screwed up logic with his complex of inferiority, the language of the birds was the only one uncontaminated by shit. It was the perfect divine language, green language, angelic or Enochian language, and magical language for communicating grand esoteric secrets. We don’t evolve for nothing.
I heard a bird today instructing me in the following initiatory idea: Thou shall move on top of a mountain in Norway. If Norway was a religion, it would be your only religion. Thou shall open The House of Spirits and Spinach. There thou shall serve the following: for breakfast, the toast called The Flying Magic Spinach Carpet; for lunch, the sandwiches called Ali Baba and the 40 Spinach Thieves; for dinner, the lentil-stew called 1001 Spinach Nights. Go to bed and have green dreams.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Yesterday was a day of checking out houses. Going from old farm houses to the virtual types, the latter installed as part of the House exhibition, also called Living, at the museum of contemporary art, Louisiana, I came home with a sense of relief. Where I was concerned, I declared it once again to myself that I am definitely not the 'let's play house' type. The reason for this has little to do with my general aversion against all things status quo and the tyranny of possessiveness. As I entertained myself with watching people's reactions to houses, I rather got a clear idea in my head that the reason for my remaining immune towards such exclamations, oh no, or oh yes, has to do with my zen inclinations.
As the idea of 'house' is related to material gain, pride, and compensation for lack of imagination, a zen approach to dwelling finds itself at odds with this form of stability and uniformity that houses invite us to appreciate. And which we do, for the sake of convenience. There is a slight irony here, however, as zen can also seem a philosophy of stability: it insists on change as unchangeable. At the museum, enjoying the samples of wooden houses in the forests of Norway the most, I was reminded of this zen koan: “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” I could feel surrendering to the calmness of detachment. I felt rising above the successful manipulation of feelings that the exhibition operates with. It was enough to take a quick look at most people's strong reactions to the way in which houses were depicted and represented to make me feel good about myself. As people were either repelled by some dwellings or envious of others, I was reminded of the wisdom attached to the trio of learning: understand, accept, and let go. Most people see the latter stage of renunciation as a sign of resignation, but here I would have to insist that insofar as we don't move towards living but towards dying, accumulating things in life will reach a dead end a lot faster even before the other end is experienced, which is the real tragedy. And this is the paradox: the more one lets go, the more one experiences what it means to live in the world. This is the teaching of zen.