"You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat's meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough."
- Aldous Huxley
This Chinese man in Phuket with two guns bored through his cheeks is following a tradition that says abstinence and body piercing in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar brings good health and peace of mind.
Why has he used two guns and not, say, spiky feathers? How can an instrument of violence bring peace?
Huxley didn't know about "performance art". :)ReplyDelete
>>Why has he used two guns and not, say, spiky feathers? How can an instrument of violence bring peace?<<
Near as I can tell, his fingers are off the triggers and thumbs are off the hammers, perhaps thus symbolizing peace -- or "peace of mind," at least, as the guns (.357 magnums or .44 cals, it appears; either of which gives a helluva kick) won't be discharging. That he employs *two* guns may suggest a second opinion, thus symbolizing "good health"?
I suppose you are suggesting two negatives make a positive. But one finger is close to the trigger. 'Peace of mind' would be possible if it is decimation of the demon, as it were.
I like you suggestion that two could denote a second opinion, to ensure good health. But what if the second opinion confirms the first, which might be negative, since both guns are similar?
That is one disturbing picture. How was this even accomplished, by surgery? Good question, how can this achieve piece, may be by fixing it to his face such that it is hard to shoot at anyone. In this position shooting would hurt him more than anyone else, what with the ricochet and all that. Attaching them to the hand would signify that he is ready to shoot at others.ReplyDelete
Like you, I too was disturbed by the picture. I have attempted some analysis while responding to Mstaab.
You are right that he is hurting himself, which is in keeping with the period of abstinence. But I don't see self destruction as the same.
Different cultures have such rituals to convey penance.
It makes more sense to speak out against guns to promote peace, but that would not be ritualistic or symbolic.
I hadn't consciously suggested two negatives make a positive; but now that you mention it, crossed pistols, crossed spears, crossed swords, etc. generally indicate such weaponry in repose -- sort of 'retired' from the field, if you will. As opposed to the 'negative' connotation in active employment, the negatives thus become positive when sort of 'passively' portrayed? And indeed doubly (does that turn it back to a negative?), the gentleman from Phuket appears to have 'sheathed' or 'holstered' his weapons. What's more, in that the business ends of these weapons extend from his mouth, is there room to find some suggestion that he has exchanged his bullets for words? Or is it simply that he has bullets to back his words, so to speak?
In heraldry, apparently, crossed weapons denote a devotion to honour and chivalric service.
>>'Peace of mind' would be possible if it is decimation of the demon, as it were.<<
I can see that. The barrels extending to either side of his head give some suggestion of 'horns' or indeed 'tusks' -- the weapons of beasts -- but in such a configuration it's not certain if the demon to be decimated belongs to him or some other.
That said, however, you subsequently note in reply to Sai that, "Different cultures have such rituals to convey penance." Perhaps then your reference to the "decimation of the demon" refers to the sort of fish-like 'gills' he would have had to have -- likely painfully -- opened just behind his jaw-line to accomodate the pistol barrels -- the imposition of such pain (and, perhaps, such self-disfigurement) paralleling a sort of literal 'mortification of the flesh' as was/is practiced among certain of religious following -- occidental *and* oriental?
>>I like you suggestion that two could denote a second opinion, to ensure good health. But what if the second opinion confirms the first, which might be negative, since both guns are similar?<<
Well . . . my comment relative to a "second opinion" was more tongue-in-cheek (or perhaps pistols-in-cheek) directed at certain practitioners of the medical arts. :)
I alluded to the two negatives more generally.
What's more, in that the business ends of these weapons extend from his mouth, is there room to find some suggestion that he has exchanged his bullets for words? Or is it simply that he has bullets to back his words, so to speak?
Or words muffled. The voiceless. Or, bullets talk.
The chivalry you talk about perhaps would not apply here, for it appears to be for a specific purpose of penitence. Is honour about such penitence?
The demon decimated could be his own or another’s. But the peace of mind would remain!
The 'mortification of the flesh' can also result in some sort of ‘peace’, a numbing.
Of course, we are seeing more. Our second opinion, so to speak :)