Saturday, October 4, 2014

If you must read

Part of the vocabulary of modern spiritual paths, and pseudo paths, is the conjunction of "essence and personality." The phrase refers to what a man authentically is, a genetic matter he is born with, and the addition necessary for a civilized man to exist in a social world, an automatic cerebral mask that Gurdjieff, and after him Jan Cox, might label "personality".
This must be a continuum, a balance between these two aspects that varies from person to person, and, civilization to civilization.
None of this is mentioned in a book that caught my attention yesterday. 
The book is a biography of a Japanese man born around 1915. I would recommend this book to anyone: Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain (2008). The author, Martha Sherrill, is not a great writer, but she knows what to include, and lets the reader draw their own conclusions. Sherrill has an unusual talent. And Dog Man tells the story of the realization of a certain kind of essence, and the manner of its manifestation in war time Japan. Morie Sawataishi is the human subject. Others are modern life, dogs, and what is important. And possible. Did I mention I like the book.