Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Sailing 'round and 'round (toward God?)
The Buddha Diaries Recommends:
Sailing to Byzantium
(posted by Cardozo)
"You don't have the right to be here," Kullervo, author of Sailing to Byzantium, writes in the introduction to his blog. In the same introduction, Kullervo goes on to say he will "block users or IP addresses who detract from rather than add to what I'm trying to do here."
Those who choose to sail along with Kullervo despite such plainly-worded threats will quickly discover why those threats might be necessary. In some respects the blog is agonizing. It is the faithful record of the author's spiritual journey - a journey with an ostensible destination (the truth about God, as far as I can tell) but which is ever circling around, drifting, and spasmodically changing course. Mormonism, Christianity, Druidry, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, and Agnosticism are explored and re-explored. Its kind of like watching a goldfish swim around in its bowl - its always going, but where?
So we can understand why certain frustrated web-surfers (not known for their patience) might lash out against Kullervo's meandering journey with comments along the lines of "For God's sake, PICK SOMETHING already!" But we also understand why Kullervo would want that frustration weeded out of the mix, why he continues to write, and why he wishes to do so in a community of fellow seekers.
Because while the canonical chroniclers and mediators of western culture - from de Cervantes, Dickens and Austen all the way to Spielberg - would have us believe that journeys always move forward eventually (otherwise why turn the page?), the truth of our human experience is usually far more circular. As a result of staying so true to the achingly slow trajectory of the real-life individual human search for meaning, Sailing to Byzantium is perhaps a little pathetic. ("Sometimes I don't feel like believing in Jesus," Kullervo writes in one characteristically vague yet stubbornly truthful passage.) But it is pathetic in the ways so many of us are pathetic. No one likes to think, for example, that they are repeating the same mistakes they made in college, carrying around decades-old emotional baggage, or (as in Kullervo's case) still struggling with their faith. But, in all likelihood, they are.
Which is why, despite its unsatisfying lack of emotional closure and its suspicious attitude toward new visitors, Sailing to Byzantium is one of the more refreshing and interesting personal blogs on the web. We highly recommend a visit there.
[Incidentally, we don't mean to suggest in this review that Sailing to Byzantium is simple-minded for all of its circuitousness. We simply chose to focus on what we took to be the most interesting aspect of the blog's overall impact. But...you'll see for yourself. ]