Criticisms of the West (11:44 a.m.)
…Does all this talk get recorded anywhere
—a data-bank of the cosmos?
My Western friends are always talking about
the Universe’s Consciousness—Thai dye t-shirts
& harem pants | mandalas patterning them
—I stick out like a sore thumb in my grey pant suit.
They travel through Asia for a few months
& think the soil’s saturated in higher consciousness.
They meet a monk | receive ludicrous epiphanies.
I meet a monk & want my money back
:—“best of a bad lot in my esteem.”
—In winter | during the exam season mothers
& grandmothers flock to the temples in Seoul.
There | they can spend an entire day performing jol
: a genuflection | a bow | to perform which | they start
in the standing position | bend their knees | then
lowering themselves onto their knees fold the head
into the stomach so as to resemble a foetus.
This is performed in a fluid | single motion
—repeating the action over & over again for hours
while praying to Buddha for their child’s prosperity.
It is an elegant action that can be done well & like
somebody who is very skilled at using chopsticks | their
proficiency in performing jol may be remarked upon by others.
The genuflection is said to be good for stiff backs.
The mothers & grandmothers also bring 20kg sacks
of rice | which are piled in front of the Buddha relics
as oblations—a sort of trade for the attentions of the gods—
(from a tourist pamphlet I translated for
visitkorea: Korean Tourism Organization.)
The piled sacks end up making the temple
look like a military camp.
Are any thoughts worth the time | energy or space
they occupy | if they take up a space other than
the space a technology creates?
“It’s not the content but the medium
that we should focus on to understand the effects
new technologies are having on our brain.”
It all feels like contagious nonsense to me
—so hard to refute when delivered softly | if only because
it means “bringing me down | man.”
I hate hearing Brits use American slang |
so much worse than an anachronism
or white socks & brogues.
It’s getting to the point where
even the affectation of quality is becoming farfetched.
“It is a fact that people fill hard drives
with all sorts of crap. Porn | TV shows…”
The most intelligent thing he ever said
& the most hypocritical. I told him
: If I have to sit through any more Jamie ‘Fucking’ Oliver
I am going to jump off the balcony.
During coffee with American or English friends
Yoon Yong will internally gnaw on her knuckle
listening to the same old vitiating diatribe
—“Well in our country… We don’t do this…
…like you do in Korea…” Insinuating the need to “catch up”.
They never see the good
: how Koreans are on the whole comfortable
around each other | help each other
: share food | space & time with one another.
We are never a bother to each other.
We celebrate together | any minor or major triumph
of our country. I have to listen to my country belittled
by people from nations with such insular populations |
too anxious to be a part of something bigger than themselves |
belligerently individual | as if individualism
is the high watermark of any civilization
—“as if Orientalism hasn’t had damaging enough effects…”
—nations self-medicating themselves numb with grins—
poisoning their bodies with junk & shooting
or mowing each other down in various ways |
while they work or study or “get lashed on the town.”
But I have to nod & say
: O yes | but we are getting better you know.
Consider this a form of abuse…