Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wind Chasing Buddhas

Toward the end of class, the idea came to our discussion that Karim's "courage" to follow whatever made him happy and satisfied his desires was something to be praised, to be envied, to be modeled in our own lives by seeking whatever it is we like best and pursuing that end with no regard to the means.
This idea seems unhealthy to me. Unedifying. While the thrill of very youthful "self-actualizing" late nights and spontaneity is, yes, thrilling, I think a lifestyle defined by those thrills hastily and selfishly overlooks what, ever since the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote all was "a chasing after the wind," has motivated both winsome and fulfilling human lives: service, love, duty, identification with something higher and more important than yourself. It seems to me that the whole lot of these buddhas in suburbia are to be pitied for feeling so self-important. We see in chapters 8 and 9 via Karim's omniscient narration that he is beginning to see such blinding self-importance as a grand sham, a magician's illusion, one that will ultimately like the vanishing rabbit leave you with nothing.
But it's all so very tempting! The rush of late nights, the vigor of youth, loudness without a care, no thought of tomorrow - but like all temptations, I think it proves fruitless. To what end, these adventures? What are Charlie and Karim chasing? Late night euphoric moment after late night euphoric moment, to be sobered by dawn, "a chasing after the wind."

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