Thursday, July 20, 2006

Effortlessly Intense

There is Truth to be found in the most fantastic of fiction. That the "Lord of the Rings" is not a religious text, is not because it lacks the necessary scope, obscurantism, romance and gore, but because it has yet to find the right sort of fanatic.

I have stumbled upon a recurring concept in the sword and magic tales that I think to be a Truth. This is the concept of calmness in the midst of frenetic action. The apprentice swordsman is coached by his master to never let emotion touch him in battle; Star Wars freaks take note that the young Luke is told by Obi-Wan to relax and let the Force act through him. Rahul Bose, the actor of "English August" fame, declaimed that he wished to be "effortlessly intense" in one of his interviews. I forget the context in which the words were said but I thought they formed a beautiful pair and aptly describe this eye-of-the-storm concept.

Now I have never been in a swordfight, nor been trained as a Jedi Knight, much desired activities as they are. But I have faced a six ounce hard-leather ball, propelled at 80 mph in cricket matches. Those times that I have been successful, I was posessed by an eerie calm. Perfect concentration with no thought of the result of the next delivery. Perhaps in this physically obvious and fairly limited way I have experienced "the peace that passeth all understanding". And mayhaps Karmanye Va Adhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana begins to make practical sense.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fantastic Tales

Whilst reading about nigromantic swords and aeromancy-pyromancy, I had cause to reflect on my need for fiction. By all accounts I am a reasonable man, then why read the tales fantastic? Surely, argues the realist, there is enough drama, wonder and the unexpected in the real world. After all, truth is stranger than fiction, the books assure us. Personally, this doesn't compile for me. Between waking up in the mornings, making my cheerful way to office, rejoicing in my project plans, enthusing in the project meetings, delighting in my coding and marvelling over the Work-Breakdown-Strcutures, I am unable to relate to that statement.

Yet, I perceive, others to be not so affected. They seem perfectly capable in their ability to find the magic in the mundane. A stronger man than I would probably choose to do something about it. Unfortunately, I am a weak sort of person, very comfortable in my lack of imagination. I prefer to have someone else imagine an appropriate sort of place with a few swords, maidens needing rescue and maybe a dragon or two. Then, go visit.