You know dreams are a double-edged sword.
Flowing in one direction, the sword cuts a swathe out to the front in a gallant acts of bravery; in the other, it results only in suicide.
One must therefore use extreme care in the art of sword-wielding.
In the West we have “fictionalized and glamorized” what we perceived as a “sacrificial” rite of that nation of the “divine wind” – that of “hara kiri” (Hollywood gets it wrong on all counts (as usual), pronouncing it “hair-ee cair-ee” and touting it as something practiced by warriors who failed in their missions, rather than the truth that it was something bound for disgraced politicians).
I awoke this Sunday morning thinking about the death of dreams.
I’ve never had much use for dreamers and dreaming myself. Oh, sure, I have some – but I’ve always tried to stay grounded in reality.
For instance, right now I am dreaming of what to do about this hunger in my belly.
Now, quick as I finish this article, that dream is going to become actualized.
I’ll cook breakfast, and fill my aching gut (like it needs any ‘filling’).
There is a lesson in that. Over-feed a dream, and it turns to fat.
That’s why, for me anyway, it is so important to live not in what might be, but in “what is”.
Back to that sword analogy, when you are waving it out in front of you, it can clear a path for you on the open battlefield, but when you consider the case of Leonidas at Thermopylae where he faced an enemy legion at a bottle-neck that lie between a steep cliff and the sea (literally between a rock and a hard, place), it takes on a different connotation.
The fallen enemy stacked like cord wood and blocked any hope of forward advancement.
Such is life when you have narrowed your options, or applied local “rules” to the entire universe (they don’t always apply in every situation).
But he did achieve the objectives of stalling the enemy, as well as thinning the legion. He also actualized his own demise (and given that he knew this, he also knew it would be his end).
Could one then call this a “proper” suicide?
The Japanese leaders who committed it, did so in disgrace.
Leonidas dies in a pitched battle to protect his own.
Both are equally dead, and both had “knowledge and afore-thought” to venture into legalese.
Did you know that in our legal system, it is considered homicide because one who commits it is “murdering oneself”. Plug that scenario into a detective show. I can see it now…”what was his motive”, “well hollyweird officer, it looks like he wanted to kill himself”.
This truly a dark subject for such a beautiful morning.
You know, the Japanese fought under the banner of the rising sun. I took note this morning of a lovely sunrise over the hills of my home.
Rather than get all poetic about everything, I think I’ll just go make that breakfast I’ve been dreaming about. I’ll do like the bible says, live in the moment, and trust that the meals will come again, just as that sunrise.
Of course, it is hard to forget that there is another dreamer who also wields a sword; an ambitious dreamer who only this morning took a swipe at that rising sun.
And now the response is to rely on Ronald Reagan’s “dream” (a vision, really – based on insight and preparedness – not on poetry).
To quote my childhood hero, Bugs Bunny, “Ain’t it ironic”.
So, you see, I’ve never really been too awfully cozey with dreams and dreamers.
I guess it is ok to dream, but my belly is telling me to get off my arse and actualize this one over a hot stove and the reward that comes from the effort.
Here’s to dreaming, California (how do you like your peace now, hippies?).