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Friday, Feb. 16, 2001

BILINGUAL

Somewhere over the rainbow lies a pot of bliss


By TOSHIMI HORIUCHI

In any creative activity, our powers of invention stimulate the mind, in much the same way fertilizer in a vineyard helps the grapes grow to make wine. By engaging these powers, particularly insight and synthesization, our mental and creative capacity is nurtured and nourished.

Both the intellect and emotions help create novel ideas, images, forms, etc., but it is insight that leads us to the innermost nature of things.

Art could not exist apart from subjectivity. Subjective insight can reach or seize the value or aspects of things that objective insight cannot. Subjectivity mediates between the intellect and emotions to draw art or poetry from things both existent or nonexistent.

Thus, subjective insight helps form fertile soil for poetic potential.

When reading a good poem, we may perceive a rich synthesizing power, a power that combines and refines the elements of words into thoughts or images of a complex poetic whole of novel content.

The power of inventive synthesization is much like fermentation, synthesizing the very elements that make up something's nature. With grapes, for example, these would be their color, spirit, flavor and smell.

All these elements are refined into a complex whole (e.g., wine) that arouses the spirit of life with drops of joy.

To clarify inventive synthesization more concretely, I will use another metaphor. The principal components of rain (productive faculties) and rays (primary components) of sunlight (poetic inspiration) fuse, mix, synthesize and are purified in the atmosphere (the spiritual world) to form a rainbow.

This poetic composite, a rainbow, turns sadness into happiness and empowers to face death itself, as evidenced in the following:

On the Thailand-Burma border was a beautiful sky. After a squall a graceful rainbow hung in the sky. On the boundary of life and death, too, might there not be something wonderful hung like a rainbow?

from "On the Boundary of Life and Death" by Jun Takami (1907-65). Translated by T. Horiuchi

In the poem, the rainbow symbolizes exquisite beauty, or poetry, that the human soul thirsts for throughout life. It is the "wine" imbibed to exhilarate an otherwise withering life.

That is why a rainbow-maker or inventive thinker desires others to partake of his/her rainbow or zest for life; to induce joie de vivre. British poet John Milton (1608-74) captures the idea in his masque "Comus":

Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded, But must be current, and the good thereof Consists in mutual and partaken bliss. (1.739)

Creative "fertilization" guides the human soul and grants ". . . light (a mental endowment) to gaily see the daily iris-hued embowment" (from Thomas Hardy's poem, "To Outer Nature"). The reward that sweetens the hearts of mental "coin-makers" originates in the fertilized soil that blossoms with flowers of bliss.

A rainbow in splendor is one of the most valued "mental coins." Humans cannot be content with coins of silver or gold, but only with the mental coins of Beauty and Bliss, the results of inventive synthesization:

where metal coins befriend mental ones, life breathes in splendorous bliss


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