“E hō mai ka ʻike mai luna mai ē (Give forth knowledge from above) / ʻO nā mea huna noʻeau o nā mele ē (Every little bit of wisdom contained in song) / E hō mai, e hō mai, e hō mai ē (Give forth, give forth, oh give forth)”
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Pursuant to the first and second rules of Fight Club, I can’t really talk about what I’ve been up to lately–which is really too bad because it’s been beyond awesome. Sorry folks, sometimes you’ve gotta keep secret what’s sacred.
However, this column’s kept no secret about my quest to learn more about my kanaka maoli roots’ millennial traditions–nearly lost but for a recent resurrection, like the proverbial Phoenix’s gold and scarlet plumage (if I may borrow lexical lore from the Egyptians, et al) cresting from fire-razed plantation and Hollywood ash. Nor is it any secret that I’ve long had an affinity for studying the deadly arts of old. (So even if I can’t talk about this so-to-speak Fight Club explicitly, put the two aforementioned items together and you get the gist.)
That said, in as respectfully a subtle way as I dare, I’d like to take this chance to mahalo Pa Kui A Holo for nurturing me these past few weeks. Their willingness to water a sapling like me–stunted and a little crooked, across the lines of straighter darker trees (with apologies to Robert Frost)–was generous; and it’s proven transformative in ways I’m still discovering.
It’s strange, though. Of everything I learned–every combative move, battle formation, virile chant, and guttural grunt–what I’ve found most interesting is the way in which modern people go about finding their footing when attempting to straddle our newfangled world and our primordial past. Sure everything evolves, but with templates being few if any, it’s fascinating to be involved in that process of re-discovery and re-making.
But I’m tired of talking a lot without saying anything, so I’ll digress. And anyway, the whole reason I joined up with Pa Kui A Holo is to learn something of my past so it can be passed on into the future.
Oh, the future. If I can’t talk about Fight Club, can we talk about the future instead? I’d really like to know what you imagine for it. After all, it’s awesome that we can imagine any sort of ridiculous future(s) we want. And I think it’s kind of a fun game, if you’re willing to indulge me.
As for me, I like to imagine that in the future–like, a thousand years from now or whatever–imagination itself is, in fact, everything: practiced, examined, exalted.
Maybe humans evolve into some sort of land whale and just migrate about the earth thinking about stuff–sometimes eating, sometimes breeding, and always singing old notes made new with every concert. (PS: Did you know that male humpback whales–in so far as has been recorded–all sing the same song pattern throughout our whale season, then never repeat that song again?)
Maybe in the future we feel disgustipated over the cry of the carrots (never mind the bunnies and what not), so the future’s staple food is shave ice; which, as my MauiTime buddy Scrappers describes, is joyfully just frozen water and colorful imagination. Or maybe a la the food fight in Hook (1991), our imaginations are so awesome, we don’t even need to eat real food at all–we just think about it.
Maybe in the future we realize that all our paper books are sad and sacred because they’re made of dead trees. So all the world’s books are shipped to space to preserve eternal in its vacuum. If you want to read a paper book (which only those touched macabre panache tend to do), you’ve got to the sad space library. But because imagination’s so important, when parents return from their extraterrestrial travels, they retell their kids bedtime stories of the books they read as if they’d experienced it themselves on some alien planet.
Something like Santa Claus, some parents go so far as to send their kids presents as if from their alien host families. When the kids grow up and learn of the farce, they keep up the tradition by going to space to read the paper books their parents read (and maybe their parents’ parents’ parents’ before them), and retell the tales to their kids, augmented in their own way.
Maybe in the future we imagine that…
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“In the world I see: you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You’ll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You’ll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you’ll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway.”