Notes on One Hundred Islands Overlooking the Andaman Sea Off Thailand – Essay – Eurasia Review
Note #1: Eagles, Angels, and the Matrix
“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. This is what I let my mind conjure up as I sat here watching the sunrise and sunset over this beautiful tropical island of Langkawi in Malaysia (Langkawi Island, which means “Island of Eagles”) on a literary mode. Philosophize. Outside the metaverse. And then the image of Gabriel Garcia Marquez A very old man with huge wings. And eagles, in all their variations of representation.
This is also where I came to. as I stroll with ease and appreciation in the early morning along the beach. And I imagined this angel in the story, flying on the horizon. A point in the sky that it turned into. As in the end of the “children’s story” by Garcia-Marquez, of this very old man with disproportionate wings. Yes, in a literary mode I was. I am therefore now a literary, ethnographic, philosophical traveler – always contextualizing phenomena. Letting my brain cells make connections, as natural as the breeze and the waves of the beaches of this mystical island.
But New York is no different. It is a hyper concrete forest. Waves of people. On cell phones. The waves hit the shores in a natural way, as an individual, as a loner but rich in his loneliness. Rich in their Americanness. The mind is as free as the eagles soaring in the heavens. Yet this tropical island I was on. On this island of eagles. The California rock band also comes to mind, because I’m talking about the eagles.
Speaking of Eagles, the band, I was at their concert on January 18, 2016. I wrote this on my Facebook page:
“… TEQUILA NOTES
– never have I seen so many guitars used in a concert I attended, then in the 2013 History of Eagles concert in Philadelphia. I had lost count that night, maybe close to a hundred? I was busy finding the brands…Taylor, Gibson, Fender, you name it…The Eagles used them. It was an incredible evening, rekindling my early days of listening to this great band that meant so much to my youthful years at the ashram on Mars.
– if a kid at the time hadn’t heard of Hotel California, they might as well book a room at Hotel Rwanda. If someone can’t play the song on their old Kapok guitar made in China, might as well play kompang in a joget band in my kampong.
— yes, Hotel California’s classic and most memorable riff is perhaps the most notable tequila sunrise scaling act line that any rock kid would remember and try to emulate. And the lyrics…
“You can leave whenever you want but you can never leave…” is so prophetic. Maybe on dogma, indoctrination and language prison.
“Eagles…supergroup…Glenn Frey, I’ll play your songs today. I played a lot of yours last week…and Linda Ronstadt’s too…never knew you either, like David Bowie…was saying goodbye.
And when we talk about angels, the images jostle: one is taken from the metaphysical poems of the German poet Rainer Marie Rilke, in his “Duino Elegies”. and some of the stories designed by religion to lend credibility. And of a more modern lyrical, musical and harmonious memory are those sung by the British musician Sting, “When Angels Fall”.
Rilke wrote, in the first set of his ten poems:
The first elegy
WHO, if I cried out, could hear me – among the ranked angels?
Even if I was suddenly hugged to his heart
I would die from the strength of his being. Because beauty is only
the child of a barely bearable terror, and we
are amazed when he casually spares us.
Every angel is terrible.
And so I check myself, stifle my summons
black cry. Who will help us then? Not angels,
not Humanity; and the beasts soon smelling the perfume
how badly we are housed in this marked out world.
And yet a tree could grow for us on a hill
to see and see again every day. May be
we have the streets of yesterday. Maybe we keep
the pampered loyalty of an old habit
who loved his life with us – and stayed, never left us.
I had, in the weeks before being on this island of a thousand stories, adorned with mountains millions of years old (yes, millions of years) in which certain continents were one, do a conference on everything metaverse: AI, blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFT, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Robots, the shape of the wars to come with robots as armies and all that makes the fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0 elegant and exciting .
But being in this world where time could stand still, even for brief moments watching the waves, the horizon, and the soaring eagles, makes me feel like a human again. Not like an avatar, spewing Mark Zuckerberg’s ideology, talking about societal changes as if the world were a linear journey to the “matrix” of all things digital. As if we were all, inhabitants of the world, one hundred percent on the same page of wanting to live in the fantasy of screen life and our mind-body-soul-spirit-jiwa-raga-Atma all in the metaverse built by the big corporations that dominate virtual capitalism: techno-fantasy peddling sharks in love with money and digital currencies!
Let me go back to reading Shelley and then, Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Until my next rendezvous with this mystical island.