Thursday, February 01, 2007

Caution: Anti-determinism rant follows...

Is it wrong to feel good when others around you are feeling bad? Is it wrong to be free and happy when those around you are shackled with grief and turmoil? Are we supposed to be doomed to longing for inner peace for everyone we love and cherish for the rest of our life and forsake our own in this altruistic crusade, and is it a selfish notion to believe we should first settle the cold stone of sadness and doubt in our own heart-lake?

I just finished reading Shantaram – which Nat gave me. The book itseld deserves a complete post on its own – and Gregory David Roberts writes that “Luck is what happens to you when fate gets tired of waiting”. It’s a notion that struck home, especially during this last month as I’ve been philosophising – something which I never ever do, no matter how many bottles of Tassenberg I’ve seen the green, glassy, murky bottom of – about karma and fortune. I was having this conversation with someone two nights ago after fetching a friend from the hospital: Basically, some things tend to fall apart, to quote Achebe, but depending on the nature of their demise and the will of the victim, they can glue themselves back together.

That will is partly the sum of experiences garnered and shared by others, gained by yourself and acted upon through time, either over the course of a few minutes of immense pain or a lifetime of slowly applied heart shattering torture. In other words, that will is yours to do with and use as you feel free and feel capable of. Will, I believe also shapes your fate and not, as I tended to contrarily believe, fate shaping your will. Thus luck, as an offshoot of the whole “divine decree” plane of thinking, is also not purely coincidental or serendipital and is in some part influenced by your will. Your kismet, mate, is positive thinking and positive exuberance in all you do. So as far as love is partly the passionate search for acceptance in others, so fate is partly the passionate search for good in others.

With all the problems the preamble to the Lunar New Year and the rise of Aquarius, my star sign, have brought for those around me here in Vietnam, it’s unnervingly strange that it is not I who is first surrounded, slowly transfixed and sucked in by the smoky tendrils and siren call of ill-fortune. I am truly blessed. I’m heading to Myanmar in exactly one week tomorrow; a country I still don’t have a clue about because I still haven’t opened my Lonely Planet. I have great friends and family, a pretty interesting job in a pretty interesting country, health and a tumbler of whisky in my hand. Fate must have gotten tired of waiting as luck flits its glorious wings through my life. I thought I’d share that with you. Just to be sure not to jinx myself, though, I’m heading off the burn some incense sticks at the pagoda tomorrow.

On a lighter note: Suzy Q’s blog is up and running and is bound to bust a move of the most preposterous proportions if her reputation as the Ho Chi Harlot (sorry Susan, but come on it does sorta roll off the tongue! Much love!) is anything to go by ;)


Susan said...

no apologies necessary henno. afterall, i do have a great fondness for things that roll off the tongue nicely. thanks for the shoutout.

Susan said...

btw, great post!!! this post is a prime example as to why i'm such an avid fan! i think you have an eloquent way with words. thanks for sharing your eloquence!

James said...

Ahoia Burg massive. Slap links van die punt af en geen relevance tot al die wyshede van jou posts nie, ma anyway. Was vensters gisteraand en ek kon nie help om terug te dink aan die malligheid in die Jan in ons eerste jr en hoe ons toe ons self vas geloop het op stage by die dagbreek play. Hoe jy amper gebliksem was met 'n plastic traffic cone. Sho brotha. Keep the fire blazing.

henno said...

Thanks Susan :)

Jameseson burg massive, daai was 'n tipe hos aand kanobie, wens ek kon alles onthou - ek sien net flashes van hackey en papsak down innie park en jou hackey wat by die kanaal af cruise en jy wat chase. Hah. Salute.

Anonymous said...

Hi Henno my brother from my other mother!
Glad to see now you have finally become another ex-pat, atleast you don't have to suffer the torture of listening to Bok van Blerk's musings.
Jeez after i read this blog - i am now more convinced that you have that novel in you or three. You better start writing about your travel in a more sync way & will be your BEE partner in the Random House deal or even better your publicist.
Well, i hope you enjoy your stay in the Junta-led Burma. Just know like our fucked-up ANC-led gov did at the UN security council debut vote by visiting that country you are endorsing that regime.
Knowing you you always went against the grain, your eloquent English proves just that.
Miss u mate, but I know that one of these day you will pholosophise about your purpose in the whole scheme of things - hopefully it will never be the laager mentality of victimhood that seems to be encouraged by backward looking people in the "De la Rey sal jy die Boere kom lei" kind of sense.
Much love, miss those Thursday nights at the Black Bull. At least wortel made a success of them - you shoud see his car & house.