Lee Love on mon 27 sep 04
John Boyd wrote:
>. Let's push the envelope a
This is the dominant view that is taught in most Universities.
It is what I experienced. But there is hopefully room for other
approaches. I never minded being "The lone voice." :-)
I really wish I had written the historian's name down, but I
didn't. The quote I heard on NPR, around the time of the first oil war
in the Gulf, went something like this:
"The fall of a civilization is marked by when the love of the
novel is replaced by the love of the grotesque."
While we are all cranking out novelties that will be
forgotten by the next generation, except as evidence of our infatuation
with consumption, fewer and fewer people will be able to tell the shams
apart from the genuine. It is related to what MacKenzie says about
our loss of tactile sensibilities, because natural fabric, wood, and
stone is being replaced by chrome and plastic. We live in a bubble
free of irritations. We are loosing the ability to discriminate where
touch is concerned. Because of our addiction to the "new", the subtle
and the nuanced are lost on us.
I had an epiphany about 4 years ago, while viewing the
largest Jomon and Yayoi show of pots ever collected together in one show
at the National museum at Ueno, in Tokyo. I looked at the Jomon
pots and realized that they were perfect and there was no way for
anybody to improve upon them. The myth of "progress" just didn't
apply. Then, you have the Yayoi pots. It is a great example of
the intuitive vs. the intellectual.
My friend Tatsuo was standing next to me, where we could
see the Jomon and Yayoi pots next to each other.
He asked me, "Why did the pots make such a sudden change? for
10,000 years they are like this, and then they changed."
I replied, "Because the people changed. The Jomon people had not
yet left the garden of eden. They knew nature intimately And these
pots were made by women. These are the ancestors of the Ainu
people. Then the Yamato horseclans came from the continent and
brought the wheel, the horse and iron with them. Men used the wheel
and started replacing intuition with intellect, "progress" and the
sword replaced wisdom and the hearth. (If you go here:
http://www.geocities.com/akitajin/jprt.html you can read a little
about the unique pre-history of the islands. Before Jomon,
anthropologists though you needed cities, agriculture and cities to
support the making of pottery. Pre-historic Japan was so lush that
these technologies were not required for making pottery.)
My epiphany was, that I there was no way for me to improve
upon what the Jomon people had made. My only hope was to go back to
the same source and try to make from the same place that they did.
This is a difficult way to go and progress is not quick. "Pushing the
envelope" keeps us amused. But amusement can keep us away from real
Lee in Mashiko, Japan http://mashiko.org
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