Better leave ambiguous

2023-12-31 @Lifestyle

Slightly deviating, but I vaguely recall Melville abandoning threads of narration mid-sentence deemed more favourable untold. I welcome this strategy and thirst to encounter it more often, be it out of intent, idea deficit, or even plain negligence. Consider the sort of ambiguity my life potion.

Human interaction generally strives to place everything in its rightful place. Fitting for most practical affairs, but wearisome, if not plain burdening for topics concerning, say, folklore, myth or even world religion.

Come that rare conversation touching the former subjects, and I tend to receive dry allusions to mass entertainment. Then so much for ambiguity. The abstract acquires too concrete a shape. The wavery, too stern a posture.

The Scandinavian, Celtic, Germanic, African, Semitic, Babylonian or Slavic folklore; the hazy, the contradictory or even the paradoxical across the literary traditions: I prefer them such, the myths and the legends not devoid of controversy nor, and why not, total incoherency.

But don’t commercial outlets just spoil things? Hampering the play of imaginative divice? (I refrain from the words ‘total sabotage’.) Endowing concrete, contemporary faces to immortal entities. Furnishing them the faculty to speak my neighbor’s tongue with the same accent.

Adhered to enough, and these images become archetypes: the de-facto standard burned in the brain. And though it’s nothing I watch or follow, allusions alight in conversation, subjugating the opportunity for creative avenue towards an irredeemable dead-end.

Moreover, photographic stills of cinematic renderings annoyingly haunt the video-blogging content I occasionally seek in hopes to otherwise elicit some folkloric meditation, one-directional as it may be.

Why, oh why the urge for the visual aid? Are content producers, at least the monetizing sorts, sadly to assume an audience lacking the ability - or at least the eagerness to tread the twisted, frightening alleys of imagination? To follow the dark forest without the tourist indicator signs, without the pop-art plastered on the tree trunks?

Leave gods and devils to poetry and scripture. And sure, render them in etchings, oil paintings, caricatures or triptychs. Has been practiced over many a century. The mass will hardly appeal to these sources anyway. Unless you dip into that pool, elect some cliché, paste on every billboard and flaunt in every public assembly.

Otherwise, unlikely is the fine art to wreck affairs, being so vast, varied and dispersed, such a mess of counter ideas almost fostering an even greater sense of ambiguity.

Compare that to the cinematic or the televised demon: that influential, pervasive and the very unambiguous bugger.

Case point, take the popular Arthurian folklore conflating pseudo-history with the supernatural. Extravagant body of work over an entire millennium (!) exhibits that world in drastically varying hues. I’m thinking of the multifaceted Merlin and Morgan not entirely devoid of shamanic facets of varied moral character; or the both licentious and heroic (incumbent on narration), but ill-fated Lancelot and Guinevere?

Alas, the screen allots little canvas for abstract pencil work and surreal depiction. But lovely is the opportunity for interpretation when one is to be had.

Now how much inexhaustible scruple takes place over the Vulgate? The Talmud? The commentaries?

Huh, there I reckon liberal expression takes heed. For these last doctrines hold major stakes over humanity. Arrive some wide-reaching cinematic wizardry and watch hostilities accrue; watch life-threatening epistles pile.

Across monotheistic practices of world influence, we see less mass-entertainment manipulation: from apprehension, not lack of artistic potential nor commercial ambition.

For not long back, clerical powers, sanctioned by the very monarchs, subjected the stirrers of whatever deemed sacrilegious strife to certain cathartic forms of execution, often public and humiliating. I’m not unconvinced this doesn’t still somewhere take place.

Questions, comments? Connect.