Die unregelmäßige Kolumne unseres Übersee-Korrespondenten feiert ihre 20. Ausgabe. Aus diesem Anlass ändert Charles seinen Namen. Warum? Weil er’s kann!
Wäre dieser Artikel, der auch mit „Zen und die Kunst des Schießens“ übertitelt sein könnte, auf deutsch, würde er sicher eine lange Diskussion auslösen. Mal sehen, was er in seiner Originalsprache bewirkt…
Be the Bullet
In previous columns, I“™ve linked to some stereotypical examples of gun culture. They“™re easy to find, and making jokes about them is like… well, it“™s easy to do. If you“™re looking for stereotypes, this is a subculture that won“™t let you down. In some quarters, they fetishize the physical gun. In others they brandish the gun as a badge of their willingness to mix blood and soil. For some, the words „God“ and „guns“ just go hand-in-hand.
Suffice to say, I“™m not enamored with every facet of gun culture. The gun is not who I am. It is not my reason for being. I just like the noise it makes. I enjoy the feel of the destructive force in my hand. I enjoy shooting guns the way a teenager enjoys smashing beer bottles. And the beer bottle-smashing teenager does not care to be lectured to by chest-pounding demagogues (or overprotective mothers, for that matter).
He does not object, however, to playing beer bottle-smashing games, and this might be his salvation. This way, as the initial thrill of igniting gunpowder fades, the joy of exercising a new skill can take its place. Otherwise, the gradual desensitization to firepower would demand ever larger and more explosive spectacle. This way lies madness (which, granted, could be pretty fun).
Good shooting starts with physical elements: the stance, the grip, the trigger roll, but once your body learns these, the challenge becomes mental. It becomes a type of meditation: relaxation, breathing, and mantra, all expressed in a precision blaze of lead. Practitioners report time distortion, visual anomalies, and even out-of-body experience. To a casual reader, these phenomenons could be from an LSD diary or a Sufi text.
The mystical experience and the psychedelic experience purport to pull aside a veil, to reveal knowledge of a world behind the world. Though not a land of strobing fractals or divine pantheons, these gun gurus have stepped into a place where everyday perception and focus do not reach. In this realm, the gun is a mere object rather than an idol, a means, not an end in itself. The distractions of political rants and gadget-happy assault equipage are left by the wayside. For an aspiring shooter with more interest in mind than machismo, this is the way.
„Bow, arrow, goal and ego all melt into one another, so that I can no longer separate them. And even the need to separate has gone.“
— Eugen Herrigel, Zen in der Kunst des Bogenschießens
A podcast about writing, teaching, personal growth… and shooting, of course.
Gun owner protects his favorite dollie (2,43 MB)
Contra Freud and pro common sense, much of Authentic Happiness author Martin Seligman“™s research suggests that rehashing events that enraged you long ago tends to produce depression rather than sweet closure and relief.
I“™ll drink to that!