They finally started releasing English translations of the Rurouni Kenshin manga. (Am I using that right? I hope so.) It’s weird, because they kept right to left orientation that Asian books have, but it’s in English. Interesting.
So I was reading the shooting script to Adaptation, and seriously, it’s one of the most brilliant movies ever made. 5 stars. Definitely in my top 15 movies of all time, possibly my top 10.
I could go on and on about why it’s brilliant, but whatever. For me, I just jive with the message. Orchids are fascinating in part because they’re perhaps the most adaptive plant. The movie is amazing because it captures this, what it means to be adaptive, whether you’re an orchid, a writer, a screenwriter, or whatever. And what it means to have passion. And purpose. I dunno, it’s amazing to me.
And like I said, I really jive with that. I think “strength” comes from adaptability, not in being unmoveable. I think a lot of people believe the opposite. That you are strong if you make yourself set, and impose actions on your environment. Argh, I’m not explaining myself very well, I hate how I write. But yeah, it’s like, people think to be stronger, you need a stronger sense of your self, figure out who you are, be strong in who you are, and impose that on everything around you.
I’m against that, and a lot of things that I connect with speak to the opposite of that idea. Like Christianity, which says you must die to your self. Strength comes when you let go, leave yourself free and open to the leadings of the Spirit. I’ve written before how I really jive with Stoicism philosophically. Taking what comes with you, dealing with the now.
Bruce Lee has similar ideas, with his whole “be like water” thing which sounds cheesy but is actually kinda profound. I’m serious, his biography is really fascinating. But his philosophy is, you never meet force with force. You’ll never win that way. Instead, you redirect that force. And again, I jive with that, learning to deal with things by rolling with them, not colliding against them.
And yeah, Adaptation is the same message. And it has some beautiful language. Here’s one exchange I love:
John Laroche: You know why I like plants?
Susan Orlean: Nuh uh.
John Laroche: Because they’re so mutable. Adaptation is a profound process. Means you figure out how to thrive in the world.
Susan Orlean: [pause] Yeah but it’s easier for plants. I mean they have no memory. They just move on to whatever’s next. With a person though, adapting’s almost shameful. It’s like running away.
There’s so much truth in that, I think. Anyway, that’s one of my general goals in life, to thrive by being adaptable. Great movie.