Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Child of Light

None of us can know ourselves by ourselves in any ultimate sense. One of the things I love so much about Kurosawa's Rashomon is how it gets this across. We cannot face the truth of ourselves: when a group of individuals are somehow incriminated with each other, and each individual is questioned by a judge as to what happened and their behaviour, what we get is a variety of fabrications according to each person, neither of them telling even a remotely similar story. It becomes thought-provoking to reflect during this film that any of the characters may not be lying simply to cover up criminal involvement, but that they may actually be innocent: they still cannot tell the truth of the event for that would involve them facing the truth of themselves; and this mysterious event, whatever it may be, demands the revelation of some part of their being they have not faced, and cannot.

I wonder how much people enjoy it - that is, the refinement, the finality, the intricate weaving that we give to our problems, articulating them to ourselves and to others. It can become a rotten luxury by which people avoid facing the ordinary duties of life - and consequently themselves. They render themselves perfectly incapacitated; a hermetic state in which every single little doo-dad gets spiritualized to infinite proportions. They think their problems (as they've articulated and woven them) make them special.

Our problems (and/or sins) do not make us special. The only thing that makes us special is how dearly we are loved by God. He created us after all. And He redeemed us. And strangely, when we begin to accept this and submit to it, we discover how blind we have been to our actual wounds - the source of our problems. Only then can we truly leave off of them, without having avoided them or having indulged in them; when our wounds are disposed in the wounds of Christ - for Christ takes up all the space - we actually see our wounds for the first. Strange, but true.

At the end of Kurosawa's film I remember how the two men are utterly stumped at the endless onion layers the storytellers/liars continually put up; lost at sea, as it were, in contemplating the nature of the human soul, and they hear a baby crying nearby and one of them, the priest, goes and picks up the baby and begins tending the baby.

Some people think the ending is hokey, but it's not.

It is the answer. The answer and the way to face the truth of ourselves.

In the midst of all complexities, where we sit, there is a Baby, crying out to us.

They should show Rashomon on tv as a Christmas movie.