Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The tents of heaven lie encamped beyond my mortal gaze, farther than I care to look, where the dust drifts upward.

I read the Hagakure, and wonder at the use of the word "perplexed". This translation by William Scott Wilson seems to be the most widely-known translation, and is more succinct than the other translation I have at home. That other translator honed the meaning to a sword-edge and then used that edge to cut away any ambiguity, like fat from a steak.

A line about trying to avoid the rain concludes "When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking."

Other words would fit easily in perplexed's stead. Angry, annoyed, frustrated, miffed, pissed, rankled. I think perplexed is still the best, for my purposes. Specific reactions are legion, but the categorical situation is not. When things go well, it seems that few people question the outcome and assume things are going right. When things do not go as desired, almost all will conclude that it should not be thus, and have ready a list of reasons why to rattle off to the nearest observer.

This disruption of thought is why I like the word perplexed. Thought is finite, and to use this precious resource to desire a world in which things are other than what is will still not affect the now, the one moment of existence, is a risky thing.

Certainly there is a time to for such things, but we're talking about a rainstorm here.

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