So last night I read: Evil is a distortion caused by friction between two souls both striving to pursue their own freedom. Why do I time and time again gravitate to books like this? I’m going to buy Rita Moreno’s new biography, Rita Moreno, A Memoir. I’ll bet she doesn’t write like that.
Irma, my aggravating, niggling, little inside self latches on to stuff like this until the saner, calmer me feels like I’ve been biting a dog toy six days straight. Here’s my brain at work.
me. Irma pops up with: Me, the Divided Two-Soul. Moving to Arizona included a notion of “freedom.” Freedom to redefine life from the gainfully employed community activist (of sorts) still defined by the remnants of childhood, to the new face in town bohemian writer wearing colorful skirts. Freedom from the land of my ancestors to the land that beckoned from the underground of my childhood. Irma pointed out a full elephant circle of spirit life.
But wait a minute. Before I get too dramatic here, at best those Utah roots are only as deep as 1848. Before that I’ve got documented records of Switzerland, Denmark, Wales, and Britain. European roots would be a
lot deeper and the truth is Utah is a land that really belongs to the Utes, Piutes, and Navajo. My ancestors were marauding usurpers who gave up their ancestral lands when they left Europe. Following that thinking, Irma and I have always been lost spirits without land. And I doubt Europe wants us back.
The quote Irma and I argued is from The Laws of the Sun by Ryuho Okawa. Okawa has published more books than I’ve read in the last two years and is the founder of the Japanese “Happy Science,” movement. I picked up the book at the Los Angeles Book Festival last summer when I was visiting my son. Okawa’s got some intriguing ideas and a lot of followers, but credentials, followers, and books published make a person neither right nor wrong, they simply provide information to explore. Similar to just because iphones exist and some people think they are godlike, doesn’t mean we have to buy one.
Back to Okawa’s idea. Two souls in distortion caused by friction. A next argument of Me: Half of Two Souls in Friction. The friction has not been enough to start a fire and burn the house down, but it heats collars, and results in heavy-lidded glances at the “other.” My husband/partner in all this has had his own input, priorities, budget concerns, and opinions. Sometimes we agree like raspberry and chocolate on choosing a pair of bedside lamps, other times the choice of drapes is well, elusive.
Do we have capability of causing real evil to each other? Why yes, I believe we do. But so far we’ve just used each other as burnishing sticks, making each other gleam with new understanding, patience, and appreciation on all matters. Or something like that.
Okawa’s next issue is: Me: A Bumbling Search for Freedom. A defining first memory is my fourth birthday. My parents and I were living in
Wellton, Arizona, twenty miles from the Mexico border. I had a new pair of white sandals I was expressly told by my mother to only wear on special occasions. She went in the kitchen and I wasted no time putting them on and stepping outside to see my friends who were playing in the sandbox in the courtyard we all shared with our half dozen semi-circled apartments.
While I was parading and showing off my shoes to admiring four-year-olds, my mother came from behind and untimidly took my arm above the wrist and forthwith took me back to our apartment. I still remember that as a moment of feeling human anger that in the decades since has been duplicated in intensity, but never surpassed.
Freedom. I am now imagining since that moment of humiliation I have worked without rest to attain a freedom to wear whatever shoes I want! Follow me? Maybe I’m losing me a little bit here, too, but here’s my take. Okawa’s sentence is: Evil is a distortion caused by friction between two souls both striving to pursue their own freedom. My editorial changes: Evil (unhappiness, meanness, cruelty) is a distortion caused by friction between two souls both striving to understand themselves better (because Irma and I agree that we are all free, but we don’t know it and don’t know how to use it).