Slaughterhouse/Charnel house

4981Bought this book three years ago, much later than I heard this book (Slaughterhouse 5). I’ve read Vonnegut’s other books in translation, much earlier, but what only remains is “his attitude”, which later on I understood that it’s his black humour. I agree with the interpretation this time, not against.

My trip to Dresden was 6 years ago, and I don’t remember a single thing about it. Only when I tried to pick up the little delicate owl carving in an egg shell, the old shopkeeper told me not to touch it, because it was expensive. Alright, it was in an egg shell, tough call. I bought it. Displayed on the wine shelf in China, I bet nobody remembers or cares where this owl comes from.

After reading the book, I re-watched the video I took 6 years ago in Dresden. Windy and it was in front a busy river. I had no idea which river, and also no interest. The only thing I knew was the city was re-built after the destruction in WWII. Good work.

But Vonnegut told us, it was painful. Through the mind of Billy Pilgrim (what a wonderful name!), we saw those bloody faces and treasures on the corpses of dead people, doesn’t matter enemy or else. Recently heard a TED talk show, the therapist told us, the most efficient way of curing PTSD and constantly seeing a bloody face is to paint on a mask. We all wear mask after all.

Vonnegut also made time traveling not bizarre at all. It’s so normal under the dome of WAR. Sometimes, the humour does not make you laugh but clog your throat.

I didn’t know bombing Dresden was a bigger disaster than atomic bomb. Well, it’s wrong to say which one is bigger via statistic comparison. We all lose.

The book is a masterpiece. Worth reading.

And, yes, Susan Sontag told us, the world is a charnel house.

 

Reading of Milan Kundera’s The Festival of Insignificance

I’m not a person of musical talent, but Milan Kundera’s work does gave me a sense of “reprise” as he once mentioned. I’m very fond of the seven chapter structure as always, and his way of dealing with the “insignificance”.

In his works, usually one could feel the laughter between the lines, and once again, this book is also about laughter, a laughter in general, a more philosophical laughter that philosophers like Kant or Schopenhauer delves into. Somehow, the laughter in Milan Kundera’s works never be the happy laughter, rather, they are bitter laughter. It’s an attitude to treat the most serious issues in life (including life itself) with a laughter that created by “good mood”. That’s where the insignificance lies.

Kundera’s work has never been lack of political elements, they are between the lines, in the background and everywhere. In Sontag’s Alice In Bed, she portrayed a sleepy character Kundry, and it somehow connects me with Kundera’s name. Kundera writes about jokes and laughter, insignificance and lightness, that’s his pattern. As Kundry keeps sleeping the whole time instead of dealing with tea party or any significant communication, it’s such an insignificant reaction to the “thing” (or “Ding” in German) that people usually take too much into account to.

To myself: It might be a good idea to re-read “Joke” and compares it with “Witz”.

Fetching the Lost Inspiration (1)

Ramon stopped in front of a suntanned, appealing adolescent, naked under his shorts, who was selling masks of the faces of Balzac, Berlioz, Hugo, Dumas. –Milan Kundera The Festival of Insignificance  p.5

A cup of Sage tea on the right, it’s my Lost & Found. Midnight inspiration was interrupted by a regular celebration of life from upstairs regardless neighbours, I should feel alive, shouldn’t I ? Realising half of the 2016 has been already left behind, forcing myself to restart with writing on the almost longest day in the year would work. At least, it shows the significance of this fetching of insignificance.

Thoughts started on this Sunday before a trip to Hilchenbach. Living right next to the core of the city often spoils me. The privilege tastes surely better when I complain about the one minute walking distance to the “central park” in the city. No. No. Actually, I do appreciate the advantage.

Climbing uphill after Saturday dinner had been an unexpected adventure, seeing many German gentlemen in green woolen-coat uniforms coming down hill carrying horns in various forms. They were coming from the park where they began a two days competition of playing horns. The next day, a tribute visit has to be paid.

Sunday morning

Typical German gentlemen gathered in the early morning wearing green woolen-coat uniform again. They wear wool hats with feathers on the fringe. Feathers from mallard or some kind of beautiful birds. Trophies in the past? Wait, there are more showing the pride-metal badges on their ties and collars. In the park, it’s certainly a hunting fair. Owls and eagles are present on the tree stump. Arrogantly, they position themselves as the best hunting buddies in competition to a bunch of dogs near them.

Look at our best hunting buddies

Shortly recorded two clips of the competition before I completely sank into my own thoughts.

Jagdhörner Jagdhorn-Wettbewerb 1 @Siegen Germany

Jagdhörner Jagdhorn-Wettbewerb 2 Siegen Deutschland

We are ruled by quotations. — Susan Sontag

However, right now, I couldn’t fetch any quotations in my mind from any great masters of minds, of human intelligence, of creativity that match this celebration/competition, instead, I see faces. There are old faces overlapping on the new and fresh faces, like the masks from Balzac, Hugo, and Baudelaire. That’s how they used to see life. It’s an observation, scrutinisation, but also, more importantly, they engaged in the insignificance of celebration. And their legacies have been passed on unidentifiable faces, lives, human beings. The collection of insignificance became the significance of the Life, the Tradition. It’s the calling of the wild as well as the connecting to the still mysterious nature from the dark ages. Witches in the stone-made prisons are looking through bars, and their glances never could be burned.