Wednesday, June 16, 2010

goodness and originality

Woke up thinking ...

It is better to be original than to be good.

Goodness is always in need of exercise and correction and company.

Originality is not something anyone could escape. It is always relaxed. It does not require duct tape.

No doubt there will be a penalty for having said so -- spiritual-endeavor mavens rushing in with rolls of duct tape to assure others that goodness and originality are the same or different or profound or shallow ... sticking together all the dangling shards with their good and reliable tape.

A little trailing-vine story along the same lines, perhaps:

The First Principle

When one goes to Obaku temple in Kyoto he sees carved over the gate the words "The First Principle." The letters are unusually large, and those who appreciate calligraphy always admire them as being a masterpiece. They were drawn by Kosen two hundred years ago.

When the master drew them he did so on paper, from which workmen made the larger carving in wood. As Kosen sketched the letters a bold pupil was with him who had made several gallons of ink for the calligraphy and who never failed to criticize his master's work.

"That is not good," he told Kosen after the first effort.

"How is that one?"

"Poor. Worse than before," pronounced the pupil.

Kosen patiently wrote one sheet after another until eighty-four First Principles had been accumulated, still without the approval of the pupil.

Then, when the young man stepped outside for a few moments, Kosen thought: "Now is my chance to escape his keen eye," and he wrote hurridly, with a mind free from disctraction. "The First Principle."

"A masterpiece," pronounced the pupil

That's pretty good duct tape, but originality is easier than juicy little tales. Goodness is a good start, but who ever said things need to be stuck together?

Why waste perfectly good duct tape?

1 comment:

  1. Love the story. Tomorrow I go to video my sumi sensei for a promotional online demo. I'll keep that story in mind. :)