Left and Right

Form exists quite simply because an infinite universe of kinetic energy needs something to do and somewhere to go, and it’s hard to drink water without a cup. While it is possible, I’m sure, to find certain environmental factors which contribute to the manifestation of certain cultural practices, in the end it becomes a simple matter ofno two styles are the same because no two people or places are the same.

Everything in the universe reflects everything else. This is a Druidic axiom, as Douglas Monroe explains in The 21 Lessons of Merlyn (pg. 37): “To [the Druids], small things– a flower, a pebble, a snowflake, the path a salmon takes in the water–all were reflections of the Great Cosmic Order; glimpses into the mind of God, and were therefore worthy of great study, reverence and replication.” We learned this in Buhner’s teaching of the infinitely fractal nature of Nature, and have elaborated on it in Calculated Poetry. The essence of this was described perfectly by, naturally, William Blake–“the world in a grain of sand.”

Again, everything that is is a reflection of everything else, all that changes is the degree of correspondence. this is the basic principle behind the Druidic concept of the Web of Correspondences. In the end, the details of any comparison don’t matter so much as the subjective meaning imparted onto it, and therefore, intuition. One correspondence I find interesting is the geocultural separation between West and East.

West and East, left and right sides of the map.

On the whole, Western society is very straight, linear, neat, prim, and propper–largely superimposed. This is reflected in the simple line-by-line style of most Western poetry. You can’t get much more linear than that.

Eastern society, by comparison, is more circular, round-about, indirect, and flowey. Western swordsmanship crafts the blade by hammering it out to be as straight and neat as possible, and shoves it in straight at your chest, brutally carving out your innards. Eastern swordsmanship, on the other hand, allows the blade to curve slightly, following the natural process of smelting. Their philosophy is much more circular–the symbolism of the yin/yang is one example. There are many cycles employed in their beliefs, such as the “spiral of decline,” e.g. backache leads to less flexibility leads to less exercise leads to weaker muscles leads to shallower breathing leads to poorer circulation leads to less expulsion of toxins and rejuvenation of weak tissue leads to…more backache.

Eastern culture is more natural on the whole. The natural flow of a river is not linear and forceful like the practices of the West when examined close-up; the water spirals and circles gradually, and becomes a torrent only when the energy is high. The West seems to force rigidity and primness as a rule. We learned this in Neuro (178): “Anglo-American legal systems conceptualize their subjects– with specific exceptions–as individuals with minds, or mental states, who intend the acts they commit, and who foresee their outcome to the extend that any reasonable person could so do.”

So the West–the left side of the map–is analytical, and the East–the right side–is circular and abstract. A curiously close resemblance to the functionality left and right hemispheres of the brain. This applies greatly to poetry. Bringhurst says many times in The Tree of Meaning that the poetry and stories of First Peoples is cyclical and fractal, as opposed to traditional Western poetry, governed more by strictness of form than flow. Does this reflect the “Civilized” obsession with sureness and security? a straight path is easier to see down. I can’t say for sure. All that can be said is that Westerners have historically been very limited in what they can say and how they can act.

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