Sunday, 4 October 2015

Laozi in the Sky with Mountains

This piece derives as much from Kung Fu Panda as it does brush paintings from the Taipei National Museum. Is it wrong to derive from a derivative, especially when the culprit plays so much to stereotypes?


I think we need to recognise that cloud-piercing peaks are not exclusive to the Orient. Spawning in a waist-coated NPC would neatly approximate a Friedrich.

Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer
So too, Laozi is not the only sage to observe that unhurried nature still accomplishes all, though he did so several hundred years before Marcus Aurelius.

Adaptation risks misinterpretation. Laozi and the Stoics have been co-opted by drop-out relativism, while Marcus Aurelius and the bible have been wielded by grim work-hungry Protestants. But as Kung Fu Panda and Mulan one-inch-punch the straw men that Western critics insert into their ideas of the East: tradition-obsessed patriarchies, so do they lead us to refine the truth from the absurd.

Cloud-jumping is a ridiculous association with Asia, but not so the ideas that we can only comprehend that which is impossibly greater by becoming impossibly greater, and that it is futile to try. (Also not exclusively Eastern concepts.)

Several requests for less carnage have been taken on board. I am not so avant-garde as to insert a bloodbath into this map.

If we see re-interpretations as genuine attempts to rewrite wisdom instead of replace it, we will worry more that non-adaptation will lead to stagnation.

Rest assured, art will always be inferior to the nature it imitates.
Marcus Aurelius

BanGenKei 9 of 12: Shan

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