The Japanese Zen monk and calligrapher Tetsuzan Shinagawa summarises his philosophy of nothingness as follows:
Everything that is returns to nothingness.
When you have learned everything,
you become nothingness,
and from there you form boundless being.
It is hard to attain real nothingness,
but it is also easy.
By remaining ordinary in your daily life,
by thinking and feeling whatever may come,
you open the way to spiritual peace and enlightenment.
All ends in nothingness.
The empty space or the nothingness also has a tradition in western art where empty space can be symbolised by pure black or white. In his longing for an art of clarity and discipline that somehow reflected the objective laws of the universe.
No wait, I think I get it… it’s a cartoon of a famous snowstorm that happened some time in the U.S. a century or two ago, of great cultural and historical resonance to someone, somewhere. Apparently. Maybe Ben Franklin invented the snowman? Am I getting warm?
I know I am just a tits and arse joke type but I do manage to just about function in modern society but could someone more sophisticated please explain this for me, I have no idea to what this alludes. Ta
Well Paul, I think the cartoonist here is talking about the Mark of the Beast (Revelations) and thought that a pun on that – the bookMARK of the Beast – would make a good joke if suitably illustrated. Satan, Death and Carnage at the top of the book mark is probably a blasphemous reference to the holy trinity, repeated the numerals 666, the words Blood, Evil and Devil at the bottom of the bookmark and also by the three visible digits on the hand – just in case the three reference was a bit subtle.
The tassles at the bottom of the book mark are much more interesting, as they appear to be decorated (another Trinity) with a ladybird, a skull and a scrotum. I’m assuming some esoteric significance to these symbols, but have not yet devined their meaning. Possibly they have some Kabalistic significance or some as yet unascribed meaning.
Taken as a whole, though, one is drawn to the conclusion that the cartoon represents a piece of ironic commentary on our postmodern condition.
The idea of the Devil needing a bookmark to keep his place, I think is quite funny. Cartoons are, after all, light humour
and appreciated on a Friday. As an obscure lesser-known ancient relic (perhaps from the Vatican archives) I think its fun.