Merry Christmas everybody!
Or if you don’t do Christmas Happy Kwanza, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Festivus, Rohatsu or whatever.
I’m down in Dallas where, yesterday, I attempted to visit the Occupy Dallas movement with my dad. Only when we got to where they’re supposed to be at the time they’re supposed to meet there was nobody around. Maybe they take Christmas Eve off. So we went and saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie instead. It was good. But we also saw J. Edgar, the Clint Eastwood movie about J. Edgar Hoover. That was better. We didn’t see both movies on the same day.
I have mixed feelings about the whole “Occupy Wherever” movement. I’m glad it’s there. I’m glad people are expressing an opinion about how totally fucked the current system is. On the other hand, the message seems a bit muddled. And, as it always is, the movement is pretty much dominated by a certain type of person. It’s hard to define the personality type that always takes over these things. But you know them when you encounter them. They’re sort of loud and cranky and convinced of their eternal rightness. I find those people incredibly annoying most of the time.
I like these protesters better. Seriously.
For those who are interested in understanding what Nishijima Roshi, my teacher, is on about when he talks about the Sympathetic and the Parasympathetic nervous systems here is a little animation for you that explains it all (or at least one aspect of it all). It’s called Prickles and Goo. Take a look:
You’ll note that this animation is by Trey Parker & Matt Stone, creators of South Park, and that the audio is from a lecture by Alan Watts. None of these people have any connection at all with Nishijima Roshi nor do the terms “symapthetic nervous system” or “parasympathetic nervous system” appear anywhere in this piece. And yet Alan Watts is saying exactly, precisely and unmistakably the very same thing as Nishijima.
To translate this into Nishijima’s terms, “prickly” = “sympathetic nervous system” and “gooey” = “parasympathetic nervous system.”
We choose the words we feel most comfortable with to explain the things we think are important. Nishijima Roshi was always, in Alan Watts’ terms, more of a “prickly” person. So he chose a prickly way of expressing himself. He used scientific terminology. This got him some criticism from others more prickly than himself because Nishijima used prickly terminology in a gooey way. And in the world of prickles, being the least bit gooey is not allowed.
Watts, being a gooey sort, chose a gooey way of expressing the same idea. In the world of goo it’s more acceptable to be slightly prickly.
Here are some more good cartoons (the opening, by the way, expresses exactly how I feel about my own work):
Finally, here is a really good article from Cracked.com that you may enjoy.
Have a wonderful holiday season everybody!