My Hole In The Reeds

The king has donkey ears under his crown, the king has donkey ears under his crown…

Tradition – Culture

it is the template
from which Culture is imparted,
and embedded in Culture
are the Sensibilities
of those who came before.

Sensibilities change
and change faster
than the widespread Culture,
and that which hardly changes,

The war of Ideologies

In the war of Ideologies,
it is not the bombs and guns,
that delivers the fatal blows.

In the war of Ideologies,
the fatal blows
are delivered by words,
by ideas.

But now,
the war of Ideologies,
have jumped the division,
from the battlefield of minds,
to the battlefields bathed in blood.

And yet,
the fatal blows of the war,
will not be delivered,
by bombs and guns,
the true fatal blows,
must and have always been,
to be delivered,
by words,
by ideas.

The Space for Moderation

There are only two extremities,
but there is a lot of space in the middle.

The Tyranny of Superlatives

The Tyranny of the Superlatives – we told aim for the Best, the Top, the Most.

The media feeds off this need to pursue the superlatives and respond in kind, generating countless lists of the Top 10s, Best 5s, Most 20s of things and this reinforces our need to be the Best, the Top, the Most.

And when we fail we wallow in our sorrows of not being the Top, the Best and the Most. We brow beat ourselves for being so far beneath the Top, the Best and the Most.

Some cultivate this festering disdain for the Top, The Best and the Most and weave a dark cocoon that metamorphose into Hatred.

Others pull about themselves in those cold dark night the shawl of discontent, draped in their new fashion of apathy – you can’t hurt if you don’t care.

We are no longer told that sometimes being just Good Enough is all you need to be – but while you are in the plain of Good Enough, some of us may yet still make it up the peaks of Olympus. Some take longer routes, the blessed are given shorter paths. And high as Mount Olympus stands, the peaks reach the heavens because there are those who stand on the plains of Good Enough upholding the mountain so that those who stand on the peaks reaches the heavens above.

Living Heritage

Culture is buried in the gestalt of its representative community.
Cultural heritage therefore resides in the community and not the stone and mortar of its residences.
When the residents are removed and dissipated, so to diminished is the culture they represent.

Owning a heritage building that is devoid of its residents
is akin to owning the husk of living culture –
subjected to entropy,
the very last vestige of culture finally disappears
when even the echoes of its residents
are no longer heard in its hallways.

The Roads, the Names

Where once the roads
carries the names of trees,
and heroes fair.
Now they carry the names
of rulers there.
Come end the day,
and the sun hangs low
the commuters fill these roads
and they do despair,
where once they cursed
the trees and heroes fair
now curse instead the names
the roads now bear.

The Moon Has No Light

The moon, gray, lifeless and dull
– it gives off no light,
for it has none of it’s own.
Hung high in the sky
it shies away
in the light of the sun,
like stars,
who has its own light,
and brightens up the sky.

And as the sun goes away,
as it must
and the Earth turns its face
towards the cold darkness of space,
the moon hung in its place
reflects the light of the star
back to the Earth.

People would say,
“Hark! See there
how beautifully bright
is the moon.”
Alas, they are mistaken –
for it gives of no light
for it has none of it’s own.

However, for those brief hours
of sunless darkness
the moon,
bathed in the light of stars,
shines – and gives
the promise of light
to bridge over
the hours of darkness
men have come to call the night.
Until the sun once again
fills the sky with true light
and men calls it day.

And there,
hung up in the sky,
the moon shies away
it gives off no light,
for it has none of it’s own.

War, war never changes…

War, war never changes…

but war has changed – even up to the First World War, the Great War, the war waged was personal. Soldiers meet their adversaries in the field of combat, their enemies had faces. Each side sees the whites of their opponents and each kill is often done face to face. Each fallen soldier litters the battlefield weighing down the psychological effect on those who must brave the fields of death. The tolls of War is seen, felt and experienced by those who wage it.

Modern warfare has taken away that face of War, at a push of a button hundreds, thousands and even millions, die. This disconnected method of warfare does not weigh as heavily on those who issue the fatal command.

It is true that those who must see the killing, even remotely, still feels the psychological impact of their actions but these are fewer than the old Wars.

Perhaps it is this ‘remote’ killing that dehumanizes War today – where casualties of war are just statistical numbers; not the piles of corpses that litters the battlefield. No longer does ‘war’ decision weigh in as heavily on the psyche of those who must make the strike decision.

War has changed, it is no longer personal, no longer human.

Gold and Non Golden

Sometimes, not everything boils down to rights and privileges. When we do something positive for others, we practice what is called the Golden Rule; i.e. “Do unto others as you would others do unto you”. We perpetuate such ‘good’ deeds not because it is the rights of others to receive nor our right to do so, but simply because we are leading by example the kind of society we want to build and ‘in deed’ live in.

A civil society must also be built upon the consideration of the Negative Golden Rule, ie “Do NOT unto others as you would NOT other do unto you”. Stop to consider your actions if that is what you would want others to perpetuate unto you, this is the very basis of basic Ethics – the framework of what we call a Civilized society.

The two rules should be the basis of Morals and Ethics, both of which could be embraced from a secular and spiritual aspect; for all religions preach the Golden Rule and/or the Negative Rule in on form or another, secularism demands for it.

Neither Rain nor Wind (雨にもまけず)

Neither Rain nor Wind
by Kenji Miyazawa

not losing to the rain
not losing to the wind
not losing to the snow nor to summer’s heat
with a strong body
unfettered by desire
never losing temper
always quietly smiling
every day four bowls of brown rice
miso and some vegetables to eat
in everything
count yourself last and put others before you
watching and listening, and understanding
and never forgetting
in the shade of the woods of the pines of the fields
being in a little thatched hut
if there is a sick child to the east
going and nursing over them
if there is a tired mother to the west
going and shouldering her sheaf of rice
if there is someone near death to the south
going and saying there’s no need to be afraid
if there is a quarrel or a lawsuit to the north
telling them to leave off with such waste
when there’s drought, shedding tears of sympathy
when the summer’s cold, wandering upset
called a nobody by everyone
without being praised
without being blamed
such a person
I want to become

宮沢 賢治



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