Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new episode of our wondeful Kai were we are exploring the beauty of haiku this month. After the Covid-19 crisis we finally can go outside again, not only for the most important things to do like work and groceries, but also to enjoy nature again. Nature ... our most important ingredient of our haiku.
“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” - Plato, The Republic
Why this quote by Plato to start this episode? Well ... as we look at that quote we immediately see the paradox in this and I think what Plato says is true for every one. We are all intelligent people, we are all wise, but ... we know nothing. That's sounds more negative then I meant it to be, because I think we are wise people, but we learn new things every day again.
|Paradox, optical illusion (image found on Pinterest)|
[...] "Paradox is the life of haiku, for in each verse some particular thing is seen, and at the same time, without loss of its individuality and separateness, its distinctive difference from all other things, it is seen as a no-thing, as all things, as an all-thing." [...] (Chèvrefeuille)
Jane Reichhold (1937-2016) wrote in her book "Writing and Enjoying Haiku" the following about "paradox":
One of the aims of haiku is to confuse the reader just enough to attract interest. Using a paradox will engage interest and give the reader something to ponder after the last word. Again, one cannot use nonsense but has to construct a true, connected-to-reality paradox. It is not easy to come up with new ones or good ones, but when it happens, one should not be afraid of using it in a haiku.
Here is an example by Jane herself:
a patch of sunlight
wears out the chairs
© Jane Reichhold
And here is an example written by Basho (1644-1694) in which he uses paradox:
whatever you may say
a morning of snow
© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)
Let us explore "paradox" a little bit further. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), writes the following about paradox, in the Philosophical Fragments:
[...] "...that one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow. But the ultimate potentiation of every passion is always to will its own downfall, and so it is also the ultimate passion of the understanding to will the collision, although in one way or another the collision must become its downfall. This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think." [...] (Source: Wikipedia)
And what do you think of the paradox in a great painting by one of my favorite Dutch painters, M.C. Escher. Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world's most famous graphic artists. His art is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, as can be seen on the many web sites on the Internet. One of his most beautiful paintings (in my opinion) is titled "Paradox".
|M.C. Escher's Paradox|
reaching for the sun
tulips bursting through the earth -
Is this a "paradox"? I think so, but maybe you have another idea about it. Feel free to share it with us.
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until July 11th 10:00 PM (CEST). You can add your submission by clicking on our logo below. Have fun!