Creation and meaning and House of Cards

[No spoilers ahead] One episode of the new season of House of Cards has some Tibetan monks make  a beautiful colored-sand mandala in the White House. Like all good mandalas (and puzzles, by the way) a mandala -as a pure exercise of meditation- is to be swept away as soon as it is finished. Volatility of all that is created? Non-attachment to stuff? Finiteness of human creations? OK, sure enough, it’s more or less old stuff. The novelty comes because one night the President comes back home and he notices the monks (and the mandala) aren’t there.


Photo by me. License cc-BY-NC-SA.

Gone. So, the metaphor gets more powerful, see? Power, and volatility, and humanness. All finite and gone with the wind. But then, there’s another big, interesting side. Frank and Claire discuss on their bearings as a couple, and he comes out mentioning that they created the life they wanted.

Exactly. Life as a product of life. Life as a creation of our own mind and work and our most intimate ourselves is nothing but a creation made by… ourselves. A creation -as volatile as any other- and as personal and subjective as possible. I mean, we do not “only” give meaning to all we think and do, but we create that meaning and project it onto everything. Powerful metaphors for a simple tv series, eh?

Now, I’m also thinking that while doing their meditation with mechanical art (perhaps even our ideas of creativity and inspiration are constructed and mechanical, seem to suggest the monks), they might as well dedicate that time and concentration and energy to solving (mechanically) some of the greatest problems of mankind, like many computers do.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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