Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lift the mask & reveal tomorrow

Frederic Remington 1909 Moonlight Wolf
Frederic Remington 1902-05 The Scout: Friend or Foe
Frederic Remington 1905 Evening on a Canadian Lake
Frederic Remington 1908 Apache Scouts Listening
Frederic Remington 1902 A Reconnaissance

Not only look, but see; not only listen, but hear

I have been trying to think of something for a post for today, for Halloween, for October 31, for the last day of this month. Superstition drives me to put words on "paper" this day. My decision is to put down a few words from the abstract, some thoughts which arrive without logic or reason, as though they have fallen from the sky under the cover of darkness.

In my view of the world and of life, I cannot look at anything without including the historical aspects involved. This is to say, lift the mask and see who or what might be hidden behind it. Such it is with individuals, whether the individual is a passer-by on the street or a noted authority on this or that or a beautiful woman who would be my companion.

By history, I mean both personal -- which includes understanding things like family background, education, economic status, political predilections, traumatic experiences, military history, psychological characteristics and religious upbringing; and nationalistic -- which includes knowledge of the governmental system and the social mores/value system as a child raised within and accepted, as an adult, to live within, as well as other elements both concrete and esoteric.

Some would say I over complicate things, and perhaps I do. But, this is me. I feel I cannot know the universe unless I know all the stars, even the ones out of sight from me. I feel I cannot understand what comes out of a person (such as a piece of art or a belief) without knowing what has first gone into this person.

This is a common failing of critics and "believers," I think. They analyze the end result, the product -- a book, a film, a painting, a theology, a political concept, a way of dress -- without significant knowledge of its creator. Such incomplete examination primarily serves to give birth to blind faith in demigods, in miracles, in happily-ever-after, in cults, in false hope, in faux-art.

Beyond that, even in terms of studying the reflection an individual sees in the mirror, history is the most elemental of all disciplines. To know yourself and to accurately peer into your own future, all one needs to do is to study your own history.

My Halloween thoughts, then, are these:

It is not wise to accept a religion or a philosophy or a novel or a film without lifting the mask of the creator and looking behind it;

~ It is not wise to accept a companion without first lifting the mask worn by that individual, which is to say, without studying and understanding that individual's history;

~ History lifts the shadows from all things past and reveals what all tomorrows shall be.

~ Lift the mask .... trick or treat ....

A slight distraction

Be warned, of the Wolfen

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

-- Hamlet, Act I, scene v

If anyone should ask me why I posted these three segments from the motion picture, "Wolfen," all I would say is this: "Because the mood to do so came over me."

Perhaps, it is because it is autumn, and autumn is the beginning of the end of a season and an existing life and a year. Perhaps, it is because it is October 31, Halloween, which is a time for the unnatural and the supernatural and worlds within worlds, both pagan and orthodox. Perhaps, it is because it reflects what the woods dweller knows and the city dweller fears.

Be warned, some of the language is harsh, some of the visuals are harsh, some of the concepts are harsh. So, take about 33 minutes of your life to watch a few segments from a film which some consider to be a classic in its genre -- if the mood to do so comes over you, that is ....

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