- It is the essential gesture of these performances and images to capture as performance and image everything that, as human activity, exists in a fluid state, in order to own it – to make it property – in a frozen state, in the shape of things that have finally become society’s sole source of value: by formulating themselves as the imprint: the negative image, as it were, of value as it can actually be lived. In this essential gesture we recognize our old enemy, who knows so well how to appear at first glance something trivial and perfectly natural, whereas on the contrary it is in fact something tremendously complex and full of metaphysical subtlety: consumer goods.
* – * – *
In the English-speaking world, money was first used to escape from social obligation – to buy out one’s social obligations… This was the reason it first became widely used.
But as we learn in budo: if you escape a social obligation, then you also don’t have – you don’t get to acquire – the experience of performing that obligation. And so you have no idea of the real value of performing that obligation…
And as we can see, increasingly, today… and this is becoming more and more visible: by definition, the “imprint” is made by people who are under pressure, under compulsion… in a hurry. So they h a v e no real sense of value.
And consumer goods are the comforting short hand, the abbreviated avatar of their guilt – for the social relations escaped from.
So, in the English-speaking world, when the pre-Reformation abbeys, convents and monasteries were abolished – they became big, fancy houses for rich merchants and nouveaux riches… with no chapel.
Whereas in a recusant household, the chapel would still be there: still the beating heart of the household… and they would sing the old music – and play it on viols – wood and gut and voices raised in sweet harmonies, making the air dance all together.
And often, today, we see something that originally was religious – pantheistic or animist, rooted and local – and many-layered – for sale in a simplified form. A form that you c o u l d still use to build a deeper understanding – but no-one has the time or the know-how. So its monetary value is a wish based on a distant memory of its real, experienced value.
That wish is how the keeping-you-always-wanting-more works!
So the thing to do is: take the time. Take the time to add your own activity and attention to any object. Actually read that book over and over till you know what’s in it! And add repetition of movement… And just as you can discover that the standard conservatoire breathing exercises of English-speaking theatre are actually energy work from centuries ago – they are alchemical and they go back to central Asia – so, simply by enjoying your story of time, and being gently inquisitive, you can get inside, and understand…
…it’s an active kind of observation.
And for us, that takes some doing, because part of your brain wants to capture that frozen ‘image’ of a thing: commit to memory certain things, as we practise. Which is fine. But it may get in the way, eventually, of actually observing. Because what you’re seeking as feedback only goes one place. it doesn’t go to the next place.
So, we try to get to where the way-we-watch changes. And when that happens, events lose habitual perception. You’re not observing them from a habit, like: “it means this.” “That means that.” And that’s that thing where you discover that there’s far more going on there the thing you’re trying to expect.
Then, when we have our conversation about what just happened
it’s not about “Oh, did I do it right?” It’s about timing and energy and movement… And also I notice that when you guys are doing it this way, you laugh.
There’s a kind of a joyous laugher to the brain going “Ooh, that was different.” Everything is sweet and easy: it’s weird – but it’s easy.
So my wish is that I could somehow help you own that: that condition of mind.
So that it’s yours.
And, yes, budo and farming: you can see how being a teenager and having a 160 lb pig come down the chute and having to do kansetsu on them would help… how that was a great education… one pig after another… it’s a continuous drilling of that kansetsu.
Over and over. And it’s the same timing each time. Yep.
And even a bale of hay, which is just heavy.
You’ve all done stuff up at the cabin where you have to use your whole body, and you have to relax, and you have to use the energy that’s coming, and you have to get it to go to the right place… the word irimi comes to mind…
And you can’t be aggressive. You have to stay soft.
The bigger the animal, the softer you have to be.
And that’s how many-layered this is!