Monday, 17 October 2016

Kinds Of Dragons

Looking at a picture in a book on Chinese art, James Ching asks whether the picture shows a dragon. Adzel says that:

the correct term is lung;
"dragons" were European and Near Eastern mythological destructive monsters;
Western writers miscalled lung "dragons";
the Chinese herpetoids are beneficent;
lung live in the sky;
li live in the ocean;
chiao live in marshes and mountains;
lung are mimed on ceremonial occasions.

Whether originally a misapplication or not, "dragon" has become the English translation of lung. In our meditation group, we recite, "Do not doubt the true dragon..." We just have to say that there are different kinds of dragons. Siegfried kills one kind. Our Chinese neighbors celebrate their kind. And Adzel performs both!

Because of Adzel's performance as the parade dragon/lung, local merchants permanently revive the Chinese New Year. Thus, this aspect of Terrestrial tradition is strengthened. Bringing in more tourist credits than he costs to feed, Adzel gains an unlimited meal ticket at the Silver Dragon Chinese Food and Chop Suey Palace. Also revived for periodic performance is Wagner's Ring with Freeman Riefenstahl as guest conductor and Adzel as Fafner whenever they want.

The governor of the San Francisco Integrate says that Riefenstahl's casting of Adzel as Fafner:

"'...has reminded us that, in seeking our roots and pride, we must never grow chauvinistic. We must always remember to reach forth the hand of friendship to our brother beings throughout God's universe,' who might otherwise be less anxious to come spend their money on Earth." (The Van Rijn Method, p. 196)

The concluding clause is James Ching's comment. Lastly, Adzel, the League scholar, impressed by Jim's demonstrated survival skills, speaks on Jim's behalf to a Master Merchant who will soon be in want of an apprentice...

Four problems have been solved:

the Chinese contribution to the Festival;
the musical contribution;
Adzel's meal ticket while he is an impoverished student on Earth;
Jim's ambition to go into space as "'...a discoverer, a pioneer.'" (p. 197)

When I began to reread "How To Be Ethnic In One Easy Lesson," I expected to enjoy it but not to find so much to post about:

comparisons with Robert Heinlein and CS Lewis;
discussion of Buddhist teaching and practice;
Chinese mythology;
operas;
this story's place in the Technic History;
issues around a Festival of Man;
humor.

2 comments:

  1. Paul:
    There's a space opera novel, *Prince of Sunset*, with an early scene in which the main character is informed that both the *lung* and Western dragons were members of an extraterrestrial species, the Luonli, who came to visit ancient Earth. The ones in Asia, though, were scholars studying proto-Chinese culture, which is why they're remembered so fondly. The dragons in Europe and the Middle East were a completely unconnected group, and the Luonli who's telling this admits with some embarrassment that they were more or less equivalent to a criminal biker gang.

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    1. Kaor, DAVID!

      Interesting twist on the "ancient aliens" twaddle I see so much of on TV. Yes, Chinese dragons were benign and benevolent figures, as well as becoming a symbol of the Chinese Emperors. Hmmm, bad Western dragons had their origins in what was equivalent to a biker gang? Entertaining!

      Sean

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