Thursday, February 14, 2008

The downside of desire

Inspired by "Farewell my concubine," the film (director Chen Kaige, 1993).

Desire, this thing. What is it? We give it a name, desire (like it is a mere noun), but it is also a constant action within the heart and mind that stirs the soul. A desire that reaches maturity without too much delay or obstacles is the safest on the soul and mind, while a protracted desire can become a double edge sword—it cuts the world in order to reshape it and to defeat it into submission to a specific vision; however, desire does not spare its master. A protracted desire. Is it a monster or a blessing upon full bloom? While it may reach maturity, its taste becomes complex: simultaneously sweet and pungent, sometimes one or the other, and at times neither and something else altogether. (No, not at all not like aged wine.) It has lived too long and becomes a consuming fire that burns all within its proximity. The body it inhabits and works on becomes a patchwork, sometimes even a ghost, of its former self, remodeled, reshaped, but never again to be smooth or easy. It is like a hand that has had to roughen and had to develop some calluses, some internal bleeding, and some hidden wounds--all of which serve to remind it of its need to mature into reality. Desire that has come to know its own existence will develop into a rich, refined, and often volatile reality...this desire never dies even after it can no longer be called desire. It is fulfilled yet never knows satisfaction; it lives forever as a grand cage to its owner and servant.