Last Saturday, I wrote a little about R. H. Blyth, his philosophy and style, and his approach to haiku. A little further along in volume 1 of the 4 volume masterwork, Haiku, that I was discussing, under the section entitled "No, Ikebana, Cha no Yu," is the following:
It should be noted once for all, that art and poetry and drama, learning and religion, architecture and music, are far closer to one another in the East than in the West. In this sense, the East is easy to understand; if you know one properly, you know all,-but an understanding of western architecture is no guarantee of an appreciation of Bach, nor that of Kantian metaphysics. The multifarious incoherence of the various forms of Western culture gives them a kind of vitality and indeterminate direction of development which makes Eastern culture seem a little monotonous, a little lifeless in comparison. The truth is that that the East knows how to live, but does not do it; the West does not know how. As D. H. Lawrence said,
Life and love are life and love, a bunch of violets is a bunch of violets, and to drag in the idea of a point is to ruin everything. Live and let live, love and let love, flower and fade, and follow the natural curve, which flows on, pointless.
Often Blyth makes gross generalizations, some spot-on, others marginally off, and others to make the point at hand and simply move on. Many of the seeming contradictions in his work stem from this approach. At times, it seems that perhaps his writing style itself might best be described as Zen.
For some folks, there is lots to disagree with here. What really is the point he is trying to make, and does the DHL quote make it for him, or is that something else altogether?
When thinking on Eastern thought, nf the Tao and Zen, we must realize that it isn't one of the other when it comes to duality: it is both, it is all.
As Whitman sang:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Bruce Springsteen's Rocky Ground
We don't often think of the art of the music video, that it can, in fact, be film, engaging and creative, same as the music it attempts to capture. Above is the perfect dovetailing of two art forms. Quite a video, quite a song.
whichever way I turn...
translated by David G. Lanoue
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