Silence

A few years ago, I would not have dared imagine this place which I had learned to call ‘home’ anything else other than a home. For indeed, I spent many hours there, and often delivered into its silence air the griefs I bore from the world outside. But yesterday, as I passed it, I felt nothing all; no compunction, no wistfulness of the warmer times, no reason to afford it anything more than a parsimonious glance. I used to think that the allure of the place, or the spirit of it, as it might also be called, lies in the place itself; in structures that stand in distinction to the other buildings; so that even if every person were to abandon it, I would still return; then sit atop its rubble and recall the more colourful days. But now I realise that that isn’t true at all – what gave it meaning was not the place itself, but the experiences which I had gone through whenever I was there. And now, as has been the way for the past year or so, I have not had any experiences in there which I can fondly retrieve. It just doesn’t mean much to me nowadays.

On the film Silence. A phenomenal show. Even though it has been a number of days since I last watched it, its surrealism and artfulness still suspends in my imagination. Garfield was a terrific actor; I could not have been any more taken in by the character he played. Scorsese on the other hand, never fails to disappoint when appointed to the helm. But more about the themes. Certainly there were gruesome scenes, which should I have to watch again, I would shudder all the same. But the movie gives us justifications for them; at least marginal ones. The Japanese were not happy that the Spaniards and Portuguese coming into their land and spreading Christianity to the people. But to tell the priests not to come in would certainly not be effective; for if the priest hears the people cry for Jesus, then he must go. What is the Japaneses’ rational then – for trying to stymie the spreading of Christianity? Perhaps the most compelling reason is that the locals had begun to misunderstand the teachings of the faith; insofar as to turn it into a form of idolatry, which might as well be a form of idiocy. Now, one might ask, why not bring the Fathers in and teach the villagers the proper faith? To this the Japanese might say that having too much of the Christian faith can turn people lazy; since all they had to do, if they believed with enough fervor, was to pray and good things will naturally come. This still sounds like it can be overcome, but let me depart from this tedious dialectic. A more interesting theme is that of the lack of distinction between serving God and serving one’s own ego. Would you denounce God to spare the people from great suffering?

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