“The argument was fine, the contents hardly objectionable, but the writing failed to convince. It imparted no confidence, nor was there any power to command hearts and minds… This crew’s real enemy wasn’t the System, it was their own lack of imagination.”
A passage from Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (ノルウェイの森, Noruwei no Mori). It catches my eye, makes me think – ‘hm…’
The context – an impromptu university protest that fails to distract the protagonist from the more ordinary vexations of life – well, it got me to thinking about the nature of protests, communication that’s meant to stir others to action, or at least to distract them from the humdrum and mundane.
And “command the hearts and minds”?! Well I asked Google and s/he says that Deuteronomy said it first, embellished with bizarre references to foreheads and ‘frontlets between your eyes’. The idea, you see, is that you become so compelled by the rallying cry of others that you stamp its sense on your forehead, lest you or the world forget what matters most to you… or rather, what matters to them who stamped you.
And that’s where you lose me.
Words of protest? I don’t know about yours, but my 2012 has seen its share of animosity, shemozzle, and festering discord. And even though I empathize, and support and share in the struggle and yadda yadda… even so, I’m loathe to have my own noggin branded with any single precept or oath.
But then it’s that last bit above that I really like – the enemy wasn’t the System, it was their lack of imagination. Imagination falls into that category of qualities that I value the most, there along with curiosity and improvisation. The common thread with these, methinks, is the willingness to let go of the need to have everything come out the way I’d like it to come out. Sound familiar?
Try as I might to control things, life has a way of delivering up a more fulsome plate anyway. So then, what to do? Cultivate a knack for imagination, curiosity, improvisation. A trio of weapons to foil you, Villainy, in whatever New Year guise you choose!
2013? Bring it on.
(What have I learned in 2012? Well, for one, bluetack is a great way to remove garlic skins…!)
Oh, yeah… my yuletide project (other than the above) was a complete overhaul of my website and blog! It’s not live yet, but will be soon… this will mean a few changes, but change is okay. Details to follow…