Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. ",
Says the Wizard Oz to the Ruby Slippered girl.
The man behind the curtain: a metaphor
For the things that you want to hide from view,
So no one will see.
But even in a gentle breeze,
some things slip through, noticed—
especially by the person who did the hiding,
the discovery of those
Does it make me a bad person?
That I’m hiding things?
I think that both you and I have things to hide.
Sometimes things are smaller and easier to be hidden behind a billowing curtain;
others, bulky and difficult to manage.
Sometimes they are difficult to deal with:
A 100 piece from ikea without instructions,
leaving us flustered and confused and left with only the option of stashing it until we have some more time to think about it;
Our parents, our sexuality, our math homework,
too complicated for the moment;
too busy to understand.
"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain",
says the Wonderful Wizard of Oz to Dorthy,
It’s a thing that he hasn’t had the time to figure out yet.
Back to School more like
Q: Do I believe in God?
A: Why would I need to believe in one?
Growing up in a very Buddhist household, Creation was not an important part of life. There was no God. There was only us, the extended family unit, this tangible group that could offer us support and guidance. I did the typical religious kid thing, being taught to say my prayers at night— but my prayers were just poems of praise to tangible institutions of guidance. I could not ask any higher power for guidance or help. It was not in our way. Everything happened for a reason: suffering happens because of bad deeds, comfort happens because of good deeds; all things could be changed by the power of action, appealing to any help other than the tangible will most likely be futile. Drowning can only be prevented if you swim to shore by our own action or calling for help to the tangible. Silent prayers and inactivity will be the cause of your demise. At no point were we taught that there is some kind of all knowing, all seeing, all controlling being other than ourselves. Our fairy tales were of demigods who fell to earth from their follies, forgetting to remain virtuous, returning to their lofty abodes only after regaining virtue. There was no singular entity that we could talk to in confidence, to ask for help. It sometimes became really hard, being taught that you’ve got what you’ve got in terms of resources that can listen to the 99 problems of a 4 year old kid. Reassuring, in some ways, because if you messed up bad, you didn’t need to look forward to burning forever or any of that predestination stuff.
Purpose in life was defined as the alleviation of suffering— the search to find an inner peace that is ever elusive and nearly insurmountable to be achieved. We were to find it in steps: learn it by learning how to play with others, learn it by going to school and becoming future citizens, learn it by performing civic duties, by finding happiness in this certain segment in our journey to the eventual peace.
There was a lack of warmth of a Fatherly figure, but there was also a lack of his wrath. Questions beyond the realm of suffering ( the focal point of Buddhism— which sometimes sucks) are to be answered by science and public school.
I was never taught to seek comfort in the arms of God. I was taught that things are the way they are because of science, because of intention, because of karma, because of suffering. I don’t need to believe in God.
“Words are not simply sounds. Words are the origin of ideas. Ideas are nothing without words to give them shape and mold them, shade them into something ready to be presented to society. The Tower of Babel was never finished because the unifying idea was unable to be communicated because words were rendered into unintelligible sounds. Likewise, society has modernized with the help of new words or re-appropriated words to fully represent new concepts as they arise: cell, orange, majestic, hairdo, quark, ratchet. Without the free and easy coinage of words to represent ideas to arise, ideas stagnate and are difficult to communicate. As the new word comes into use in society, it ages; gaining shades of meaning and depth. A prime example of modern colloquialism : ratchet. Before the word was invented, any number of words would suffice; be it low class, broken, cheap, or shitty. As ratchet grows and ages within a society, it adds its own connotations to its low class, broken, cheap ass shittiness.
A ratchet girl walking down the street knows that she’s a little cheap and her personality is a little shitty, but she accepts her ratchetness and there is an almost glowing pride as she bathes in her lightly dim underfunded limelight ( it would be brighter if she spent her money on her electricity bill instead of a chihuahua in her fake juicy couture purse). As a reader, you may be a little lost at this point, lost and utterly confused in the colloqialism of a Nor Cal teen. You might be hella lost.
But that’s the point. Identity comes with the development of language, as demonstrated with the ratchet chick with her forever barking Taco Bell dog.
The ability of words to be able to add on shades and depth to themselves is also what makes society progress in a continuous manner. Marriage is not a new word, but the idea behind has changed with the secularization of life. To say that “ I’m married” means that children born into the institution means that they would have two legal guardians; that money in the banks would be handled differently; that there is someone that is entitled to pull the plug. This would also be in addition to whatever other religious connotations that marriage would have— if at all.
The foundation of the United States of America would be very different if English would not be so able to adapt and alter the meanings of words and the ease of creating new ones to fill gaps. The ideas of freedom and liberty were very different even 100 years ago, even more so back in 1776. The very concept of freedom has now come to mean so much more than what a landowning man can and cannot do. Freedom: of the press, assembly, religion; of marriage, orientation; of the right to vote; to choose to do what one pleases as defined under broad law and to change those laws when deemed necessary— even by the plebeians that most of us are.
Similarly, the idea of a government forcefully diminishing the adaptability of language to live and flourish would be a very effective method to control the masses. If an individual felt the desire to have “freedom” and wanted others to join him in the fight for “freedom”, how could he, if he has not way to express it? There would be no words to describe what he was feeling, he would have to make his own words— which would be impossible. Words function very much empty journals— the journal titled “Freedom” would be worn and torn with the footnotes along the cover and spine by those that have fought for it, by men and women, by Jew and Muslim, by John Locke. It would have the blood of slaves and slave masters; it would have the sweat of burlesque dancers and the bras of the women from the 70s. It would have the not only the name of Gandhi and George Washington next to old Greek philosophers, but also that of Hitler, Nero and Joseph McCarthy. It would always smell faintly of marijuana and opium and it would boom every now and then when the NRA wants to express its freedoms. It would always be filled with new pages and some pages would be ripped now and then by Dictators or Asian parents ( They’re often one and the same. Chairman Mao’s son, I’m sure, had only 100% in each subject. Mao must have been so ashamed.)
The “Freedom” journal in the world of 1984 would not even have a title. There would be no words to express how they felt, except a few scatterings of War and Big Brother, the fear of thoughtcrime and facecrime, crossed out and wrinkled with their dry tears of those who could not find a word to describe how they wanted to feel.
The world of 1984 would not have anyone ratchet going anywhere. All its citizens would become all one and the same, without individualism, without an ability to desire something else, something better. They would be unable to recognize something better, without the ability to desire at all. They could only to recognize their emotion as a kind of doublethink, completely unsure what to call it, and rejecting that desire in their hearts for a life different that what their souls decay through.”
The full moon:
the unwavering stare
of my lover’s face.
I sing only of praise
to the rising beauty of the night,
Yellow and round and white
In softly brilliant splendor—
but only the cool glances in return.
She is not a quick one to smile,
but a demure one that she does give,
night by night,
until the fade into darkness.
That is the night:
that is my lover’s smile.