Friday, November 15, 2013

Man's Art - the Power of the Word, As It Can Appear Amidst Chaos and Violence...

It struck me this day; namely,  how the power of some utterance can, for the moment,  subdue the eddy and turbulence of  an event, even though the words involved are a direct result of the event.
Allow me to attempt an explanation, by way of example:
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio during his young years, the devastation of  this rapacious affliction could well  have stultified any further aspirations he held.
But the titanic battle he waged against almost total paralysis resulted in what History has so well recorded; that is, his victory over the pain created by the reality surrounding him.
Interestingly, his connection  with a Victorian poem titled "Invictus"  is well documented. Roosevelt himself had more than once remarked about his attraction to this poem.
"My head is bloody, but unbowed."
"I am the master of my fate."
I am the captain of my soul."
Were these words from "Invictus" the lights in the darkness that helped  guide him into ultimate  personal victory?
Another example of poesy that emerged from  a period of human violence:
In the weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Emperor Hirohito was, of course, aware of the plans to destroy the American presence in the Pacific. There was a moment, interestingly, when he took pause and uttered a statement which were actually words from a Japanese poem - "if all peoples(men)
are brethren, then why are  the winds and waves so restless?"
What was in the mind of the Emperor when he posed this question?
Or, lastly, the words of Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind of Pearl Harbor, who a generation before, warned his fellow militarists never to go to war with America after visiting the Texas oil fields and the industries of Detroit, both as a Harvard student and a naval attache, and who prophesied that the next naval war would be decided in the air...
On the 7th day of December, 1941, the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, when Yamamoto, the head of the Japanese Combined Fleet, received word that the American aircraft carriers were not in Pearl Harbor, and therefore had escaped being destroyed, Yamamoto uttered the strangely  contemplative  words "I fear that we have awakened a sleeping giant and have filled him with a terrible resolve."
Did the Admiral actually mean that the Japanese had lost the conflict on that first day?
Barely six months later, the Battle of Midway forever destroyed the plans the Japanese had held to become masters in the Pacific. And it was the air wing of the American navy that scored  the victory.
And so, the words uttered in the midst of violence and upheaval - words of relative quiet; a veritably calm
form of incarnation - just another form; innately, perhaps, of artistic expression??
.

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