Translation Ritual

Translation Ritual

Dear Editors and Translators:

Thank you very much for your wonderful letters concerning my work and also your experience about translating my magnum opus.

Let me take the time to welcome our newest member to our team. Our new Japanese editor, Kenta-san. Better late than never I always say.

I will be leaving for a two day monastic retreat on Sunday. I need to take a badly needed rest and I need to also consult my spiritual superiors. But before I go, I would like to address some important issues concerning the creative process and how it relates to Harvest of Gems and its translation. I have recieved many letters from all of you concerning this critical issue. So let's begin.

I think a good place to start this discussion is with the idea of ritual itself. The creative process is a ritual. It's a puja. It's a sacred kind of incubation where psychic energies are exchanged for the purpose of multi-level transformation on all levels of the mind. Sound, symbol and meaning are worked upon by the imagination of the creative writer. In this case the translator who is taking an original work and making a new one while staying faithful to the spirit and style of the old work.

In this difficult process the imagination starts to see rythms and works with them not just on the computer screen, but in the mind's eye. This process becomes a ritual for the translator. A ritual where the mind can flow and relax and perform the necessary symbolic, linguistic and sematic transformations. The translator captures and rides the rythms of the original work and mutates them successfully into the target language.

This difficult process needs a safe haven. That haven is the translator's personal rituals. They allow the word and mind alchemy to generate the necessary word and mind collage. It's all about psychic energy exchange and its ultimate TRANSFORMATION. The more mind levels that are engaged--the greater the transformation in the collective unconscious of the population of the target language. Since this is a global project--the target population is vastly bigger. This process demands responsibility and integrity because it's a spiritual process created by the spiritual rythms in the newly sacred space of the translator. The translation ritual guarantees this if the intention is pure and big enough.

In Harvest, filming the action from different angles and distances while an ascent to heavan is made is the chosen creative ritual of this writer. The translator is invited to join this peculiar ritual and to make up a few personal rituals of one's own to aid in transfering the original vision of the work to the translator's target audience. This is translation magic at its very best. A truely liberating feeling. A great translation is like a great photograph. The translator as photographer not only captures the subject writer, but also his or her own emotions in the subject. If the translator is lucky he or she also captures the Universe in the photographic translation.

The translator is often like a master calligraphist. The incubation is slow at first and then fast as the brush-work is substituted for the key-strokes. History shows that the translation adventure has often had global incubation features. Big energy was tapped and released when translators opened up the lost knowledge hidden in Arabic texts during the Crusades in the Middle East and in Spain during the 1200's. In the 1500's another translation revolution was started when Martin Luther translated the Bible into German and English scholars translated the Bible into the now famous King James version. So far the translation of the Gita, the Tao Te Ching, and Zen and Tibetan works works has yet to ignite an equivalent cultural revolution. But the day is still young. Translation revolutions can be powerful, but short-lived. The translation of Marx into Russian and Chinese shook the world, but now this revolution is running out of steam.

All these translation miracles are products of the human imagination at work. So let's take a closer look at this process. You will be amazed. The imagination has its own rythms inside the its secret incubation pod and symbols are the DNA of this rythm ride. Words are the servants of these symbols. Sounds too. The subconscious mind works through pictures and symbols. Stop for a moment and ask yourself. What are these pictures and symbols saying to your inner-being? What images do they bring up? What memories do they unlock? This is using your imagination. This is a kind of creative day-dreaming. It's a powerful mental tool. Use it. Cherish it. This is creative incubation. So you create what you imagine.

When symbols and the imagination come together then the magic begins. Ask yourself. When the writer's symbols flood into my mind. What did my imagination do with them? Ask yourself. Did the symbols change? did they become more clear? Don't be surprised where you and your mind end up. The mind is a rich and fertile place. It is the playground of the spirit where anything is possible. If you wake-up from this creative day-dreaming with a start. That's a good sign. You're getting the hang of it.

When the day-dreaming becomes a translation ritual then the magic starts. You relax and get into your work through your imagination. Your private gestures, tools, and workings in your translation ritual generate safe and exciting rythmsfor your imagination to do its work. The repetition of your rituals trains your subconscious to prepare for what comes next in the narrative and in the multi-plex structure of the text at hand. The ritual provides the necessary safety and comfort for the mind to let go. So that the imagination and the symbolic elements it is working with can EXPAND and GROW.

Harvest of Gems' message is that life is always changing. That experiencing something is knowing it. The quality of the experience and the knowing become the manure for an expanding wisdom and this wisdom is always tested. The translation ritual's rythms and patterns become a resource for the translator. Symbolic and linguistic cycles start to manifest on all kinds of levels and the subconscious of the translator harnesses them effortlessly. This is symbolic reincarnation at work right inside the translation ritual. This rapidly becomes a process then of personal and collective self-discovery. Since the discovery is personal for the translator it becomes more authentic to the translator and the future reader. This kind of learning and self-discovery is active and not passive. It's also great transformational fun.

Sometimes the transformation is messy, difficult, and slow. Yet translation remains a constant form of self-examination aswell as a perpetual process of release and synthesis. Especially in Harvest of Gems as the translator continues his exploration into the hierarchy of awareness. Yet there is much more to speak about in this incubation process. Indeed the translation ritual like any other creative ritual needs to engage many kinds of logic. There is a dream logic and a dream language that is always being integrated with an awake-time logic in a very creative way. Both kinds of logic are harmonized and this harmony creates a third logic that is mirrored in the creative fusion of the completed piece of work. This is the big miracle of any creative ritual.

These different cognitive logics are always at play in any kind of creative ritual. In dream logic different subjects are connected by unusual similarities both surprising and shocking. An insane person can see these similarities but cannot transfer these insights with awake-time logic. Only an artist can make the leap. The insane person is arrested in any attempt to integrate this primary dream logic with a secondary awake-time logic. Thus the insane person generates no tertiary logic that is the synthesis of both dream and awake-time forms of perception. Only the creative artist reaches this point. It is the creative artist who shares this third logic with his fellow humans.

Once more it is through a creative form of disassociation or incubation that the translator contacts his inner resources for long periods of free-thinking and day-dreaming that are later put to practical use. This dream incubation allows the translator to cultivate great vision. Unusual insights and explorations into irrational and illogical worlds soon generates new visions for doing things in new and radical ways. This process starts with ritual and creative disbelief. Similarities between different things are no longer accidental and coincidental. A primitive appreciation for suprising similarities is cultivated. Absurd similarities start to have deeper meanings.

Intelligence and creativity are different. Intelligence absorbs the external enviornment too quickly. There is no depth because there is no incubation. No ritual. Let us look now at an artistic product that was created from a most profound sort of incubation process. An artistic product that is related to Harvest of Gems. An artistic product made by one of the West's greatest literary masters. Jack Kerouac and James Joyce are prominent in Harvest of Gems, but it is to Dante Alighieri that we must now seek inspiration from. For he constantly casts a massive shadow over Harvest of Gems. Thus the product of Dante's incubation is a big divine recycling drama with multiple meanings on every level.

Dante creates multiple meanings from a jazz language that resonates on multiple levels. A cinematic vision is used with an arc-like architecture. Harvest uses this too. There is a jumpy and episodic quality to Dante's literary action just as there is in Harvest. Recyclings and recapitulations abound in Dante's dream fugues. So also in Harvest. Powerful descriptions alternate with moving confrontations of bleak and ecstatic psychological states. This is how the Harvest narrator's beliefs, trials, and visionary hopes are ultimately discovered. A house of memory is then explored with wit and intellectual intensity as the Harvest pilgrim fulfills his own prophecy.

The Harvest narrator recycles his own imagery and his output forms a unity of resonant recapitualtion. The fugue vision has no entry and exit. The verbal and visual shape-shifting is constant and transformational. All the visual and verbal mutations and reincarnations evolve from a higher and partially hidden logic. This logic then works symultaneously on multiple levels of the mind and it works its way into the imagination of the reader as it soon moves and spills into different worlds. All the levels echo off each other in an infinite kind of regression. This is incubation ritual at its highest level. Dante was a Tantric Buddhist in midireview Tuscan clothing. He practised a Christian kind of Buddhist Tantra. Dante was indeed a Catholic Kabbalist. Dante's incubation was a wrathfully sweet form of womb gestation before the most apocalyptical kind of birth imaginable. This was also translation ritual at its highest peak.


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