Archive for the ‘superstition’ tag
Today’s photo is different from the usual fare offered here. The photo was taken with my camera while my wife and I were on stage with our students, singing. Sometimes it is important to simply “play.” I use music as part of my teaching of English as a second language. It is about motivation, authentic language and having fun. This is vital as I found out yesterday when one of these students asked me if the end of the world was near. The fears are high with all of the events of the past two weeks. The question was asked in terms of the often heard end of the world talk surrounding the Mayan calendar.
My response? Well, I have to admit that I don’t believe in any of these predictions. Life happens, shit happens, babies are born, people die, people play. I don’t hold with an exterior dark and evil other that will wipe out humanity on a particular calendar date. For me, such beliefs are projections of the collective unconscious. Holding these beliefs is more about being defeated than being vitally alive. So, to answer the question of my response, I told them that it was superstition and was not truth or fact. With question period finished I taught them a new song, an exercise in listening to discover the words using only their ears. We play together and learn together knowing that there are too many days where learning and life will be painful.
Looking out my apartment window here in China I do get to see a different world than the world that appears through my window in my Canadian home. In today’s photo, a collector of cardboard has just picked up a load of spent fireworks’ boxes. There is rarely a day that goes by when there are no fireworks. Strangely, from my point of view, most of the fireworks occur during the daylight hours. The intention is different as is the intensity in comparison with the rare fireworks’ events I am familiar with in North America.
Trying to understand what is purpose of all the flash and noise here, I asked my university students about the reasons for the constant barrage which often makes one think that one is on a battlefield. Reasons were given that make sense: a new birth, a new business, a birthday, a new apartment, a marriage, a death. Anything that was viewed as a shift in the known world, a change, was marked by setting off fireworks and long strings of firecrackers.
Why? The best answer I can get is because of tradition. Reason has no role to play as the fireworks go up in noise and smoke. A layer of superstition lays buried underneath the modern veneer of the psyche. The noise is meant to frighten evil spirits leaving the way open and clear for good luck to rule in the affairs of men.
Thinking about it, I have to admit that I am not much different. I know that there are dark things waiting for an opportunity to make an appearance in my outer world and in the process make a mess of the illusions that I have crafted to be representative of the light aspects of myself. My persona is that of a kind and gentle man, one that is trusted and honourable. I am the teacher, trusted and valued. I work hard to maintain the illusion, to restrain the shadows that would deny the exclusivity of saintly Robert. I know that I can’t totally control these shadows, the ancient and primal darkness of man, so I seek quiet moments in privacy to acknowledge these shadows.
Denying the darkness didn’t work for me in the past. The more noise I made, the louder I protested their presence, the more they found a way to disgrace my presence among others. Now, the pressure has lessened as I have given up on trying to distract these shadows within with flash and noise. Now, I honor the shadows with an acknowledgement of their presence, of their being. I am both saint and sinner.