Sunday, August 19, 2012

Order out of chaos: the worlds of Tikun and Tohu

Before creating our world, God created other worlds and destroyed them. Kabbalah adds that the 'evil' in our world stems from the fragments of these worlds. What were these worlds? Why did God create them only to destroy them? How do they relate to evil? What is the role of evil? And, most importantly, how does all this apply to skateboarding?

Kabbalah describes the former worlds as comprising immense 'light' and few vessels'. As a result, its 'vessels' shattered. This is the world of Tohu, chaos and desolation. The latter world, on the other hand, constitutes abundant 'vessels' and little 'light'. This world is sustained, but its vessels do not function at full capacity. This is the world of Tikkun, repair. It's important to note that these worlds are not physical but spiritual. Nonetheless, since the shards from Tohu 'fell' into our world, they are visible in the physical plane. Additionally, according to the principle of inter-inclusion - the notion that every part of reality contains the whole in micro - our world has elements that parallel both spiritual worlds.

 For example, take a series of light bulbs charged with excess voltage. What is the result? The bulbs may burn out or even shatter. Conversely, if there's insufficient voltage, the bulbs won't function at full capacity, if at all.  The first scenario parallels Tohu; the second, Tikun.

Alternatively, take a passionate individual who lacks the wisdom and skills required to express himself in a refined and constructive manner, whose energy often erupts in anger and unruliness. In contrast, consider the individual who is highly skilled, articulate, and wise but lacks fervour and zeal. He may be harmless, and probably accomplished, but he's certainly not functioning optimally. These opposites are often associated with the young and the old respectively. The young are energetic and dynamic but commonly behave in unsavoury ways. The old are wise and mature but lack gung ho.   

The ideal state combines the advantages of both realms: the many 'vessels' of Tikun and the immense 'lights' of Tohu. In combination, you have many bulbs functioning at full capacity, and you have dynamic individuals articulating themselves in ways that benefit society.

Now to the subject of evil. In essence, evil is characterised by intensity in the absence of effective management and constructive outlets. For instance, anger and rage are excess forms of passion and judgement; depression is typically an excess of sensitivity and seriousness; lust and promiscuity result from a mismanagement of sexual energy; frivolity and silliness result from an overload of humour. (Even the 'evils' of natural catastrophes conform to this pattern: floods are an excess of water; draughts, of dryness; tornadoes, of wind; volcanoes, of fire, etc.)

Evil exists in the world so that people may exercise their free-will to attain the wisdom and skills necessary to harness and channel it in constructive ways. To fuse Tikkun and Tohu as they manifest in our world - and particularly within ourselves - and attain thereby the ultimate state of being:work which is mad but brilliant, creations that are transcendental yet practical, copious yet unique; achievements that are part human and part divine.

 World class skateboarding, especially among the pioneers, follows this pattern perfectly. It tends to be wild yet graceful, boundless yet precise, explosive yet masterly, aggressive yet elegant...part human and part divine...a fusion of Tikun and Tohu...                                             

No comments:

Post a Comment