Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Fortune Teller Told Me

It must be thirteen or fourteen years since a friend told me about a book he was reading at that time. He said that it was one of the most remarkable stories he ever read, an absolute must. Intrigued by his account I bought the book and could not stop reading until I found out what happened in the end. It was, indeed, a remarkable book, probably most amazing travelogue I remembered reading.

Now, years later, A Fortune Teller Told Me still remains one of my favorite books. It is a perfect book for the spring when the nature renews herself; and a perfect book for anyone who wishes to reflect upon his good or bad fortune. 

Warned by a Hong Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for an entire year, the author Tiziano Terzani (1938-2004) - a very experienced Asia correspondent for the German magazine Der Spiegel - took what he called “the first step into an unknown world." He followed the advice and experienced the most extraordinary time of his life. He was marked for death, but instead experienced an incredible personal transformation which he is not shy to call rebirth.

Traveling by foot, boat, bus, car, and train, he visited Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. The journey itself was a multidimensional experience. Obsessed with the foretold truth, he consulted soothsayers, sorcerers, and shamans everywhere he went. He received much advice about his future - some of it wise, some not so.

With enough time on his hands, he learned to understand, respect, and fear for older ways of life and belief systems in Asia that were threatened by the extreme forms of Western modernity. Asian traditions seemed to be on the verge of total extinction, an observation most travelers to Asia share.

During his remarkable sojourn in Asia he rediscovered a place he had been reporting on for decades and  managed to become a different man in the process.

Tiziano Terzani was an experienced journalist and as such had a very sharp eye. At the same time, his writing is full of passion, tenderness, and love. His journey was a remarkable one and I am convinced that his story will touch your heart, in one way or another.

By Dominique Allmon

Dominique Allmon©2017


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sex On A Sunday Afternoon

 A pretty conservative view on modern sexuality and gender politics

This post should actually carry a title "How to write an article about sexuality in times of extreme political correctness and even more extreme cultural sensitivity."

Believe it or not, this question is valid, especially in the United States. Not because of the extremely conservative puritans, but because of the extremely confusing and permissive doctrine of multiple genders you might not even know existed. New York alone recognizes thirty one sexual identities, but there are probably as many as sixty three or more! This is extremely confusing to someone like me whose chromosomes were not messed up at birth and whose mind wasn't screwed up by weird ideologies.

What happened to a relaxed sex on a Sunday afternoon you may ask? Nothing, of course. Nothing, if you can enjoy sex without confusion. For someone who came of age in the last century the current developments are nothing by identity hysteria. I always believed that you are either man, woman, or hermaphrodite; gay, bisexual, or straight. I might have missed something on the way, but twenty, thirty years ago you did not hear about people not being quite sure whether they were half fish, half human, or something. Did mental disease become so prevalent that it occupies the center stage now? Something that might have been dealt with in a psychiatric ward in a not-so-distant past now moved into High Street and it is up to us to cure our own mental affliction of not being able to understand why.

I can imagine that my views are completely outdated and probably scandalous, but I cannot help my belief that humanity would have made it so far if it wasn't for a rather clear understanding of gender and sexuality. I am perfectly aware that sexuality is more than just a physiological function aimed at procreation and self preservation of species, but the current preoccupation with gender, sexual orientation, and public bathrooms is annoying. Only fifty years ago young people were envisioning colonies on the moon. Today young people are walking on egg shells horrified not to offend anyone or get offended by some "inconsiderate" person who does not understand or respect their sexual predisposition or some other hidden or visible quality.

Art history and the the study of mythology tell us that deviant, or different than "normal" behavior was known if not necessarily widely understood or accepted. Evolving society agreed on the norms of propriety that outlawed or criminalized behaviors tolerated or popular in the antiquity. To this day certain sexual predilections are forbidden in some cultures. Homosexuals may be sentenced to death in Iran or Saudi Arabia, but a marriage between a seventy years old man and a nine years old girl is socially accepted there. In ancient China old men used young virgins for their "essence" in order to obtain longevity, a practice that in not openly tolerated in Modern China, although not that long ago Chairman Mao was known to possess a harem of young girls that he used for this very purpose.

I can almost imagine the "progress" Western societies will make in the near future. With the influx of immigrants form a region that accepts pedophilia, and the overall acceptance of your personal right to love whom you have chosen to love, it will take no time at all to make pedophilia legal. It took us a few decades to accept homosexuality as a mainstream behavior, it ill take much less to accept pedophilia, simply because our societies are open to everything and abhor discrimination. Psychologists, sociologists, and sexologists would rather throw the bigoted you to the zombies than allow you to criticize sexual orientation of others. Teaching kids as old as four or five, about the sexual practices of adults creates interest in sexuality and possible consent in the future so that there would be no discussion of abuse.

This development is difficult to understand for someone who has a clearly defined sexual orientation and preferences. It has nothing to do with upbringing, religion, or lack of tolerance. Anybody who read Marquis de Sade's "Justine" for example, knows that human imagination has no limits. But do we have to accept everything simply because it can be imagined? How about accepting the post-sexual vision of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" where sexual act is something of the "animalistic" human past?

Re-introduction of the eugenicist vision for the overpopulated planet might not be a bad idea. Hormonal, emotional, or psychological confusion could be resolved with a few tricks here and there. Once this is done, no one will have to worry ever again of offending anyone by using the wrong bathroom at the airport. A happy human family, happily ever after.

By Dominique Allmon

Dominique Allmon©2017



Also of interest:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love, Love, Love!

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. - C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves

Happy Valentine's Day! Love, love, love with all your heart! - The Reader  

Image: Pink Lady Roses & A Book Shelf by Dominique Allmon©2017