Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rob Brezsny's Free Will Newsletter

[Oh how I love this newsletter, this man & his book, Pronoia!] * * "Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius." - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart * THE MORE ACCIDENTAL, THE MORE TRUE "The more accidental, the more true," wrote Boris Pasternak in his poem "February." Scholar Mikhail Epstein expanded this observation: "The more accidental the phenomenon, the more divine its nature, for the divine is what has not been envisioned, what cannot be deduced from general rules, nor irreducible to them." If we pursue this line of thought to its logical conclusion, we may decide that the most useful sources of illumination are not always holy books, revered dogma, and great truths that everyone has heard. They might also be serendipitous anomalies that erupt into the daily routine and break the trance of ordinary awareness. "The tiny spark," Epstein writes, "is the precise measure of the holiness of the world." (Source: Mikhail Epstein, "Judaic Spiritual Traditions in the Poetry of Pasternak and Mandel'shtam.") * When you're an aspiring master of pronoia, you see the cracks in the facades as opportunities; inspiration erupts as you careen over bumps in the road; you love the enticing magic that flows from situations that other people regard as rough or crooked. "That which is not slightly distorted lacks sensible appeal," wrote poet Charles Baudelaire, "from which it follows that irregularity--that is to say, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment--is an essential part and characteristic of beauty." * Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that refers to a captivating work of art with a distinctive flaw that embodies the idiosyncratic humanity of its creator. An aqua groove in an otherwise perfectly green ceramic pot may give it wabi-sabi. A skilled blues singer who intentionally wails out of pitch for a moment may be expressing wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is rooted in the idea that perfection is a kind of death. * "The essence of Wabi-sabi is that true beauty, whether it comes from an object, architecture, or visual art, doesn't reveal itself until the winds of time have had their say. Beauty is in the cracks, the worn spots, and the imperfect lines." --Todd Dominey, HTTP://www.whatdoiknow.org * Wabi-sabi is a kind of beauty that's imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, says Leonard Koren in his book "Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers." It differs from Western notions that beauty resides in the "monumental, spectacular, and enduring." It's about "the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are almost invisible at first glance." * "When bread is baked, some parts are split at the surface, and these parts which thus open, and have a certain fashion contrary to the purpose of the baker's art, are beautiful, and in a peculiar way excite a desire for eating. Again, figs, when they are quite ripe, gape open; and in the ripe olives the very circumstance of their being near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the fruit. And the ears of corn bending down, and the lion's eyebrows, and the foam which flows from the mouth of wild boars, though they are far from being beautiful, please the mind." --Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations," translated by George Long * "I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillaries." --William James, "The Will to Believe" * "The great lessons from the true mystics, from the Zen monks, is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's back yard, and that travel may be a flight from confronting the sacred. To be looking everywhere for miracles is a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous." -- Abraham H. Maslow, "Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences" * "If you love the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion." --Lin-Chi, "The Taoist Classics," translated by Thomas Cleary * "The lesson that life constantly enforces is 'Look underfoot.' You are always nearer to the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Don't despise your own place and hour. Every place is the center of the world." --Naturalist John Burroughs * "We want to be God in all the ways that are not the ways of God, in what we hope is indestructible or unmoving. But God is fragile, a bare smear of pollen, that scatter of yellow dust from the tree that tumbled over in a storm of grief and planted itself again." --Deena Metzger, "Prayers for a Thousand Years," edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon * "Nature exults in abounding radicality, extremism, anarchy. If we were to judge nature by its common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed. In nature, improbabilities are the one stock in trade. The whole creation is one lunatic fringe . . . No claims of any and all revelations could be so far-fetched as a single giraffe." --Annie Dillard, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" * MOVIE *Scared Sacred* http://www.scaredsacred.org http://tinyurl.com/y8ckyq "Visiting the 'Ground Zeros' of the planet, filmmaker Velcrow Ripper asks if it's possible to find hope in the darkest moments of human history. He travels to the minefields of Cambodia; war-torn Afghanistan; the toxic wasteland of Bhopal; post-9/11 New York; Bosnia; Hiroshima, Israel and Palestine. In each place, he unearths unforgettable stories of survival, ritual, and recovery." *

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