Google, “House of Cards”

Google images, ‘house of cards’, and you will get endless pictures of Kevin Spacey, not to be confused with Sissy Spacek.  Google Wikipedia ‘house of cards’, and you will find that the term goes back to the 1600’s, and an interesting explanation of how to build a solid house of cards, and how they collapse, as well.

Google ‘house of cards, Tolstoy’, and you will find that the creator of the Netflix series, “House of Cards”, Andrew Davies, will be producing a new series (for Netflix), based on Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”.

Read Part Eight, Chapter IX of Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina, A Novel in Eight Parts”, and up comes a reference to a ‘house of cards’, in the stream of consciousness of the character, Levin, as he ponders the idea that human thought and reasoning, are as fragile, as a collapsing ‘house of cards’.   Here it goes:

Following the given definitions of vague words such as spirit, will, freedom, substance, deliberately falling into the verbal trap set for him by philosophers or by himself, he seemed to begin to understand something. But he had only to forget the artificial train of thought and refer back from life itself to what had satisfied him while he thought along a given line – and suddenly the whole artificial edifice would collapse like a house of cards, and it would be clear that the edifice had been made of the same words rearranged, independent of something more important in life than reason.

Is it no wonder that the script for “House of Cards” is smattered with references to Tolstoy? How about it, Mr. Davies? Tolstoy was a master, and perhaps Davies’ favorite  author.

This inquiry goes to show, that our sources of information on the Internet, leave much to be desired, and though “House of Cards”, enthralled me, for a time, until after the perky little journalist was thrown under the train. (so many scenes in Tolstoy’s writing take place at the train station, including the tragic end of Anna), I soon became bored with the endless gimmicks used to keep the audience’s attention, and stopped watching it.

We must question to what extent our spirit, will, freedom, substance, are being invaded, and controlled by the limited availability, and information offered on the Internet.  Should this be of concern?  I think so and only confirms that there is no substitute for literature and art, to probe the senses.  I wonder what Tolstoy would have to say?

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric,

but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.

~ W. B. Yeats

Had To Move On

Around this time last year, I was on the airport train at Barajas, heading to the terminal to catch my flight.  Reminiscing in my mind about what lie ahead after the trip, I turned to my right, and saw the face of a young girl.  She was crying. Feeling sad for her, I wondered what could have been the matter. It might have been anything.  Her expression of emotion, and the fact that she was all alone, made such an impression on me.  Although she was in public, she seemed as if no one was around her, and no one could feel her pain; but I did.  That she even felt the freedom to let it go, unconcerned that dozens of people might be looking at her, seemed so humanlike to me.  Most people would have kept their feelings bottled up inside, or feigned happiness.  When the ride was coming to an end, I wanted to make some connection with her, a sympathetic look, or a gentle touch on her arm; but the lack of proximity to her didn’t lend itself to any gesture. My stop came along.  She stayed on.  I didn’t want to leave her behind, but as usual, I had to move on.