The Mystery Pagaent
"This is the great mystery pagaent, waiting to be noticed, as it lies before us, yet also living in the works of our greatest men of art.
To make it serve the present hour, we have only to assemble--or reassemble it in its full dimension, scientifically, and then bring it to life as our own, in the way of art: the way of wonder--sympathetic, instructive delight; not judging morally, but participating with all our awakened humanity in the festival of passing forms."--Joseph Cambell
It just chokes me up, its so beautiful. We are ready, right here in this moment, to participate in the great mystery pagaent as it lives in the essential energy or ki of our greatest artists, including martial artists.
Let's comment on the mystery pagaent--what does that really mean? It's the great mystery, the conundrum, the puzzle, the point of life, the understanding of which enables our enlightenment.
He uses the word "pagaent" to refer to a great display, a becoming of oneness with the phenominal forms. Human pagaentry, like the coronation of a queen or a king, is nothing like the mystical pagaentry manifest in something as simple as the microscopic power of a tree or a rock and the cosmic call to the spirit to explore the Unbounded Universe. That mystery pagaent is the inspiration for the greatest forms of art. It is the goal of art. It is the expression of the inexpressible.
Our job is to make the pagaent serve us in the moment, or to assemble it (reasssemble it, because it always was) scientifically. Now what does he mean by scientifically? What does science have to do with art? Art relies on the forms, the passing forms of life, the platonic forms that make our existence. To make science human, to make science go into the higher aesthetic dimensions, we have to express that dimension which also exists within us. That art, that personal art, is the way to wonder, to existential power, to love, and it must be participated in with everything we have or we will be continually just spectators of the mystery pagaent.
We martial artists also need to address the idea of morality and art. He says, "not judging morally," in other words, there's no judgement--that's the morality. The passing forms are bubbles with neutral values of yin and yang in the foam of the sea of Incontestable Unity. Those things are not meant to be judged. Yin is not better than yang, yang is not better than yin. Everything is part of the essential interplay of yin and yang. Things just are. Any judgement is a moral exposure of your limited self, which belittles you, again taking you out of the pagaent. Art, the great mystery pagaent, demands much of the martial artist on his/her path towards mastery.