W. Eugene Smith, “Landscape from Train,” Japan, 1961~’62 from melisaki
It seems to me that at bottom each person is asking, “Who am I, really? How can I get in touch with this real self, underlying all my surface behavior? How can I become myself?”
…(I)t appears that the goal the individual most wishes to achieve, the end which he knowingly and unknowingly pursues, is to become himself.
There is that sphere of being where there is no earth, no water, no fire, nor wind; no experience of infinity of space, of infinity of consciousness, of no-thingness, or even of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; there is neither this world nor another world, neither moon nor sun; this sphere of being I call neither a coming nor a going nor a staying still, neither a dying nor a reappearance; it has no basis, no evolution, and no support: it is the end of suffering.
The sky hides the night behind it, and shelters the people beneath from the horror that lies above.
Only the inner protection of patience can keep us from experiencing the turmoil of negative thoughts and emotions.
No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized.
The other thing that bothers us is that since we don’t know who we are, we don’t know how we came here. You don’t know where we came from - oh, I know, you say ‘the sperm and the egg.’ Sperm and the egg! Where do babies come from? ‘Sperm and the egg!’ Idiot answer. It’s not an answer at all, it’s merely a description of a speck in a causal process that is a mystery. We don’t know where babies come from. You get married, you’re sitting at a table having breakfast - there are two of you - and a year later there’s somebody else, sitting there. And if you’re honest with yourself, you don’t know where they came from. You’ve made contact with them at the hospital, but that was another step on the causal chain. They just came, literally, out of nowhere, and they keep growing in your environment. If you stop to think about it, which you don’t, because it’s annoying, it’s upsetting, then it’s a total mystery. And if a child said, ‘Where did I come from?’ you don’t know. So you can’t answer honestly.
Kenro Izu, BLUE. Still Life 1119b, 2004. Cyanotype over Platinum-Palladium print
Size 20 x 14. From yama-bato.