May 20. 2015 -- It was a beautiful sunny day in New York. I saw from balcony, the night disappear and the day begin. Now tonight is about to begin.
I was recently asked by one of my students, what my sun, moon and rising signs are. I was familiar with my sun but not so much with the moon and the rising. My moon is in Scorpio. I was quite surprised when I read the description of the sign, because it was surprisingly accurate. It says, “you take great measures to manipulate your environment to match your ideal setting. And you are incredibly idealistic, which is a fabulous balance to your intensity.” I must admit, I am quite an idealistic person. Idealistic or I would like to think, I have what I think is an ideal. I know “ideal” is a big topic, but please bear with me, I will try to make something out of it in a few paragraphs.
“人” is one of my favourite characters in Chinese and Japanese, ever since I learned the character and its meaning in my childhood. My favourite Japanese novelist Ryotaro Shiba describes the beauty of the character in a very similar way to how I feel about it. Shiba says, “when I look at the character for person (“hito”), I am frequently moved. It is composed of two slanting lines supporting each other. As we can understand from this too, human beings live by forming a society.”
Nobody can live alone. I think there is no doubt about that. Human beings, because we come to this world with incomplete brain or that of near empty one, we begin our life by imitating other individuals. We imitate. We walk, we talk, we think and act like someone other than you to gradually create your ownself. Theoretically yes, but in reality, there is no individual who can escape from being influenced by others. No one is 100% original. My point here is that the individuals are not just on his/her own in our society. Each of us are inevitably a member of society and that is why I see the character “人” as something meaningful and beautiful.
What is the ideal society? That is something I’ve always been interested in. And I take my position this way: it is a society that has an “ideal,” and of course this is not my original idea. Ideal is something that is not yet real. When ideal becomes our possession, it is no longer ideal. But when it is ideal, what it carries is a forward motion to move the world forward.
My question now is, do we have “ideal” in our society? Is it enough to pursue the way that is for my or your personal ideal? There seems to be something missing. As I reached the age when it is not strange for me to have a child, I started to feel this way. Our life is not just about what we want, it should be more about what kind of society we want to pass on to next generations and generations after that.
Am I too much of an idealistic person? Maybe, but that is who I am. I would not tell my students to follow their dreams but I still ask them to have a dream. I am just that kind of person. Can we make the world a better place? I believe so. Can art play an important role in making that happen? I believe so. That is why I aspire to make art. That is why I believe in art. That is why I believe in collaborating with others.