The wander and the arc.

A meditation on the infinite and the finite.
Miyazaki's movies leave me peaceful, and complete as I am. Their plots wander a bit, bringing in characters in turn that are not present at the conclusion. There isn't much of a conclusion, much of the time. The viewer's perspective takes a pause, takes in a scene, before moving on to the next beautiful thing. There are elements of tension and resolve, but they aren't the purpose of the thing, and their shape is different than the whole: we wander through a story, and it's okay to forget what happened long ago. We may remember earlier details, for a pleasing moment of time-space symmetry, a harkening back, but they aren't critical. It is life, as it is, without aggrandizement or the illusion of finality.

The society I know leans hard toward the arc. The rise, the crest, the fall. The same four chords.

I think the arc is a drug. Like sugar, it is food for a primal need, and we have not yet learned to push back from the table of modern abundance.

Life is both, of course. Effort is followed by repose; the conservation of energy means we see arcs manifest naturally, constantly, inexorably. But in total, they are a wandering. Life goes where it will. It unfolds, and vacuums are filled and pressure is released and the part of our mind-body that knows that pattern latches onto these tiny arcs, finds satisfaction in closure. The wandering, though – I think that is the purview of the consciousness. This progression does not end, or culminate, or conclude. We grow, we evolve, we turn ourselves here and experience this, then go there to find that. Is there a grand design, a plot with satisfaction and a freeze frame high five? No: these are punctuation marks in a never-ending story. It does not matter when you tune in, or when you tune out. The story continues, changes, introduces and re-introduces, and abandons. It wanders.

I mention the society I know, because I think that base primes us to find true refreshment in this kind of wandering peace. It's why Kiki's Delivery Service is such a balm. If all we knew was that kind of time-less progression, I think encountering an arc would be equally as attractive – the kind of attraction that you know is for you, but you're so without experience that you're unsure how to step into it, how to approach it, to ask for a dance.

I think this may be why people respond to my music, and why I've never felt inclined to give it broad structure. Its structure is deep, takes the other axis instead – meta-patterns, handing the thread off to each other in turn, with no verse, chorus, or bridge. It's centering, because it isn't setting you up for a finish the way every other song you heard today has done.

Tea in the sun, alone on a quiet patio. A walk in the woods, finding and losing the trail, then finding another. Realizing that what was so important to you a decade past no longer has purchase on your heart. Pouring fire on your white-hot inspiration, and taking to the workbench whatever remains, when it has cooled. More tea.

Both are good, the instant and the era. Lose any addiction to either. Partake in all, for all is yours, and no one knows where you will go.
© Lightward Inc