7 November 2008

Letter 4.15

(Late '83 I started a 'Peace Run' frm British Columbia to Southern California; knees -- 40 year old knees -- and logistics gave out; but it was worth the try. -- Húm)

I think it's a great idea. You can run. You want peace. Therefore, you can run for peace. It may not work, of course. It's at least conceivable, arguable, that at the conclusion of your run there will be no more peace, no less contention, in the world, any way you describe the world, any way you quantify or qualify peace/non-peace. But, of course, that doesn't matter. You do what you can/must do; to expect results is already to do violence to the present -- i.e. the world. Therefore you run not to bring about peace; you run for peace. 'Folks, I'd like to dedicate this next mile to peace in... let's see... peace in Zimbabwe, okay? For the next mile we are running for Zimbabwean peace.' And who knows? Even without expectation, without hope, who can possibly deny the possibility that... Stranger things have happened. The pebble has given birth to the avalanche. If there is any movement to be initiated, your movement may be the... but even if not, it is still your movement. It is not a movement towards peace. It is a movement for peace. Being such, it is its own success, and whatever follows, or tries to follow, or fails to follow, doesn't matter. Your movement is, in itself, complete, like a strong dose of castor oil (as I'm sure you've thought yourself already) produces a complete and very purifying movement.

I think it's a great idea. But I can't run worth a damn. 50 miles a day? Every day for a month? 'One day, on carika, I walked 23 miles (in 10 hours of walking time), and was totally done in for the next 3 days. Normally I'll do 8 to 10 miles and be proud, and that's for all day. Running's not my thing. But I can fart. When I consider my various talents (almost entirely non-marketable) I conclude that the best thing I've got going is flatulence. Not that I'm in any world-class competition, mind you. No; but of an evening, down at the local health food bar, I can harmonize and odorize with no fear of being shown up as a Johnny One-Note. Yes, I can fart. And I too want peace. Therefore, I can fart for peace. For the next month, entirely due to your inspiring example, every expulsion of gas will be for peace. Of course, these days I'm not into actually organizing anything. But ideas occur. These ideas -- who knows how far things might spread? Part-ins. The Pass Gas for Peace movement. ('You know in your bowels that it's right.') Giant balloons can be filled with collected farts and floated over the skies of the world -- whoops -- there goes another one, right now, dedicated to peace. Tonight, I predict, will be -- whoops -- big one that time -- tonight will be a time dedicated -- whoops, long thin one, trifle malodorous, but for peace, for peace, just like all the others -- yes, tonight will be a time, whoops, brief crack of a fart, it was -- a time, I say, a time dedicated to peace in our hearts, in our minds, in our bowels, in -- whoops, good satisfying one that was -- yes, peace in our hearts, in our...

(The edge of the aerogramme wafted with peace, which may have lasted a month, to judge by the next aerogramme from him, picking up the scent, as it were. -- Hūm)

..My own backward and long-winded efforts, inspired by your example, to make a contribution towards peace, continue apace -- not exactly striking a blow for peace, perhaps, but a blow nevertheless, and certainly a clarion-call (to myself -- ain't nobody else around to hear it, but that don't matter no nevermind) for all we believe in. As you say, all we have is wind and poesy, so though it was a one-man effort -- I invited some friends to join me, but they thought I was cracked -- nevertheless your slogan Plutonium Piles Are Hard To Sit On was the inspiration for my expiration, the Pass Gas for Peace Movement. For one month every fart I farted was, with a song in my bowels, dedicated to peace...

I too prepare for winter -- the NE monsoon will hit with full fury next month -- the termites have already done so, as you can see by the bites taken out of this aerogramme -- and huff and puff, but, I hope, will not blow my little house down. But what makes it interesting is that I can't be sure. People keep telling me not to live on top of hills, but what, then, is Upcountry for? So I go down to the pine forest below, where the village women illegally pull down branches, and I gather the small sticks that they don't think worth carrying. Pine burns great. The needles go into the bed, which thus gets fractionally higher each day. Soon I shall be above the top of the hill and beyond the doubts of my distant neighbors and supporters. (Sometimes, at night, I see rabbits -- or one rabbit several time running past, so there must be rabbit holes about the place. Moon-lit, he looks rather... well... white and seems in a hurry.)

Here's a few more Dhaumapada renderings for thee.

Let go of the future; let go of the past;
let go of the in-between and surpass
existence. When freedom of mind is attained
then to birth and decay you will not come again.

If its root is firm and stout
a tree cut down will heal and grow.
With craving's base not rooted out,
again, again, will sprout this woe.

People who are biased, moved,
exult in what's engaging,
though bent on ease, though seeking good,
they undergo but birth and aging.

The blemishless man who's gained freedom from thirst.
untrembling, the one who's accomplished the aim,
for that man the dam of existence is burst.
This is his final frame.


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