Friday, October 9, 2015

To Be Met or Not

That is the quest. Nothing matters more for a fulfilled life. To find that person or the several with whom we feel fully met, embraced, received. It is also the occasion when we can experience the reciprocal meeting, the love and wonder of another.

It was either Aristotle, Nietzsche or Yogi Berra who gave advice to a slumping teammate, Try swinging at strikes. True for baseball and even more so for life. When a strike comes along don’t let it go by.

Peggy came into my life like a fastball right down the middle of the plate. I swung. It was a meeting of ball and bat. True souls which admit no impediment, as the bard put it. As Bogey said, Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world she walks into mine.

To be a seeker is an honorable state but being a finder is even better. Not everyone seems to recognize the strikes right in front of them, the answer to the call, to listen to the flower, hear the veil of fog lift. Not as a final destination but these are moments to pause and open the senses, heart and mind.

Even if lucky enough to be met there is always a part retained, left hanging out there unmet, unanswered.

In the 1983 film, The Year of Living Dangerously, Linda Hunt plays a half-Asian, half Western photographer. He/she sees the Australian novice-journalist, Mel Gibson, as the unmet friend. In cinematic language the filmmaker, Peter Weir, renders the turmoil and mystery of Indonesia during the closing days of President Sukarno's regime. The movie works on multiple levels.

The unmet friend is bewildered by the spirituality of the people as embodied in the shadow puppets. He is told to fix his eyes not on the puppets but their meta-narrative, the shadows on the wall. How to see is the central theme of the story. The Western eye sees surface from a singular perspective. Only when Gibson’s character loses sight in one eye does he begin to have a fuller vision into the many dimensions of the situation. The photographer, as a stand-in for the director of the film, is tasked with being puppeteer. He must evoke the unseen elements of this Third World country at the same time as he searches for a universality.

Perhaps the otherness can never be fully met. That’s not a bad thing. Meeting the challenge is enough.e is told to fix his eyes on He ggg

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