Nothing Stays the Same

Comment of the day…
For a while I hid my subscriptions cuz I didn’t want bad blood – I didn’t want my subscribers to see that I wasn’t subscribed to them, or even that I subscribed to some site that they didn’t like. Then I said screw it, and showed them all.
— Posted 2/5/2004 CultofDizzo

The flow of the moving river does not cease, and moreover it is not the same water as before. The floating foam on it’s pools, forms and disappears; there are no instances of it staying for long. The men and his dwelling of this world are also thus. — Chomei

This is a translation of the opening paragraph of the Hojoki by Kamo no Chomei (ca. 1220), perhaps the most influential essay in Japanese literary history. I quote this cuz I’ve been reading a number of blogs lately that have dealt with changing and/or differing circumstances.

As Chomei expresses, water seems like a constant, even in a river where water just seems to be water. But it is always flowing, and it is never the same water that flows by. Even in the pools of standing water created by boulders or crooks in the river, the foam bubbles up and then disappears, never existing for any length of time. All these things are like us.

We are constantly moving, working, playing. Even if we consider the more mundane aspects of our life–eating, sleeping, brushing our teeth–they seem to be the same action, but in reality, it is never the same. A sound sleep may affect our moods, and thus effect a pleasant day, whereas a fitful night will bring grouchiness and a short temper, affecting even those around us negatively with perhaps lasting effect. Even our houses seem to be “real”–as the term real estate suggests. But like the foam on the water, it are built but never last forever.

Is this a negative approach to life? No way. It is the way of things. Things change regardless, and there is nothing that is absolute. But this is a good thing, isn’t it? Do you want to be the same person you were ten years ago? Or ten years in the future? If you go abroad for an extended time, returning to a home that is unchanged provides a sense of security, but this is unreallistic, because your home is actually always changing. It just doesn’t seem to be changing if you are changing with it. It is your absence that makes it appear so different.

Relationships are also the same. As humans, we are all dynamic. Perhaps the most boring among us change at a slower rate, but we all change nonetheless. When a single unit involves two dynamic–always changing, always evolving–people, there are times when these people grow in different directions, often the result of external stimuli as we are affected by others as much as we affect them.

I could go on, but I don’t want to bore anyone. Just keep in mind that change IS the standard. Change IS the constant thing in life. Without it we would be bores. Next time, I’ll talk a bit more on absolutes–or lack thereof–especially with reagard to texts.

Are texts absolute to you? Does the “meaning” of a word remain constant? Can a person or group of people “reinterpret” the meaning of a word?

Ask and ye shall be heard.
ZettonV: You said you have a filmography class, what movies you show?
Here is a list of the moves I intend to show–or students are required to see–this year.

  • Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai)
  • The Makioka Sister (Sasameyuki)
  • Ballad of Narayama (Narayama bushiko)
  • MacArthur’s Children (Setonai shonen yakyudan)
  • Twenty-four Eyes (Nijushi no hitomi)
  • To Live (Ikiru)
  • When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Onna ga kaidan wo noboru toki)
  • Shall We Dance
  • The Family Game (Kazoku geemu)
  • Tokyo Story (Tokyo monogatari)
  • The Funeral (O-soshiki)
  • A Taxing Woman (Marusa no onna)
  • Woman in the Dunes (Suna no onna)
  • Tampopo
  • Rashomon
  • AfterLife (wandafuru raifu)

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