‘I don’t believe in omens or fear’
Even as this uncivilized creature of barbarism unleashed has yet again vitiated the atmosphere in India with his crude, crass and dehumanized language and conduct, and even as his shameless fascist party defends and glorifies him, it was a lovely surprise to suddenly, and yet again, discover both Akira Kurosawa and Vincent Van Gogh on FB. And what a relief it was, and so strikingly humane; luminescent in this world of amazing creative brilliance and cinematic genius.
What a departure from the big money PR machinations of a morbid mass murderer and his accomplices obsessed with mindless megalomania and low-level muscle flexing, celebrating the blood of innocent Indians on their hands as a public spectacle. You look at him and his low IQ followers, rabid and fanatic like mechanical cockroaches, and you look at this small is beautiful Kurosawa dream film, and you realise how liberating the world can be, despite what Walter Benjamin said — that, indeed, there is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.
In that Van Gogh painting of flowers, roots, sunshine and magnificent colours moving in a kaleidoscope of circular and anti-circular movement, travelling in multiple journeys outside its own destiny, its own framed space on the wall, suddenly, you can discover a hundred thousand mutinies and yellow mustard flowers, and a million colours of green, orange and vermillion, like familiar dream corridors of eternity, moving to and fro, into each other, blind with love, happy to be lost in this beginning without an end.
In one moment you realize how sublime and ephemeral is life’s innocence and how permanent and fixated is life’s inevitability of dying and death; and how pointless is this uncivilized barbarism of ambition soaked with the blood of innocents
Oh, how suddenly and eternally lovely it can get, even while all the lines between hope and despair, depression and buoyancy, text and image, disappear, like a sunflower in full bloom, or a bylane amidst a nocturnal utopia of blue flowers and red stars and orange suns, with not even the desire to look for a lighthouse to guide you out of this tidal night.
This is because this night is forever, a beloved night, tortured and passionate, where the art of losing yourself itself is the discovery of knowledge, instinct and liberation. This too is a sensuous Kurosawa dream, one of the magical dream sequences through the eyes of a little boy, moving from flowers to ghosts and a mythical marriage of foxes in a mystical forest with blue waters; to the abject brutality and stupidity of war, where the dead return — they want to come back from the mindless massacres of war into the life affirmations of peace and humanity.
In one moment you realize how sublime and ephemeral is life’s innocence and how permanent and fixated is life’s inevitability of dying and death; and how pointless is this uncivilized barbarism of ambition soaked with the blood of innocents.
You also realize how greatness and humility transcend death, and how creative knowledge and philosophy, art, visual, vision, language, text, music, exploration, intelligence, instinct, passion, silence, dream remain pulsating in the backlanes of memory, uplifting human civilizations, bringing joy and redemption, rediscovering new journeys and destinies in the many twilight zones of our lives and deaths.
It’s like the poetry of Arseny Tarkovsky (also, in his son, Andrei Tarkovsky’s films: Mirror and Andrei Rublev), again, like paintings carved with music on early-morning rainbows: Listen to this poem, preferably in Russian: Life, Life (excerpts)…
I don’t believe in omens or fear
Forebodings. I flee from neither slander
Nor from poison. Death does not exist.
Everyone’s immortal. Everything is too.
No point in fearing death at seventeen,
Or seventy. There’s only here and now, and light;
Neither death, nor darkness, exists.
We’re all already on the seashore;
I’m one of those who’ll be hauling in the nets
When a shoal of immortality swims by….
…I tailored the age to fit me.
We walked to the south, raising dust above the steppe;
The tall weeds fumed; the grasshopper danced,
Touching its antenna to the horse-shoes — and it prophesied,
Threatening me with destruction, like a monk.
I strapped my fate to the saddle;
And, even now, in these coming times,
I stand up in the stirrups like a child.
…I’m satisfied with deathlessness,
For my blood to flow from age to age.
Yet, for a corner whose warmth I could rely on
I’d willingly have given all my life,
Whenever her flying needle
Tugged me, like a thread, around the globe.