Jasha Explains Death
A 10-page comic with dream characters, painted early October 1974 by Chris Wayan
Some panels are enlargeable, but not all--sorry! Restored as well as I could, but it's 40-year-old-paper...
I painted Jasha Explains Death at the University of California at Santa Cruz as one of a set of comics my friend Dave Self (creator of Deep Duck) and I jointly submitted for a philosophy class. Most of the comics were short satires on the local subcultures--surfers, nudists and so on. Deep Duck, our narrator/straight man, interviewed the locals in each. Here, I thought he'd interview a hippie or a talking redwood. Then Jasha strode in... and hijacked the story to talk about mortality.
NOTES 40 YEARS LATER
74/6/30 Nine Lake Basin under Mt Kaweah
Walk downstream, photoing flowers. A doe on an islet only twenty feet away! Such grace. See Jasha Linsombres in her. Water-unicorn. Immortal, but part of the organic world. “With that wild grace that deer possess only a shy shadow of, and goats a wry mockery.”--The Last Unicorn.
Let’s analyze the mechanics of grace. She let me get so close because I'd been trying to move lightly, quietly, tracklessly... moving like her. Grace. Felt it. Humans in motion are normally in a state of dynamic equilibrium, so if they stop they may fall and hurt themselves, unlike deer and other quadrupeds who are more stable. So deer can be so loose as to be fluid, yet so controlled that if danger rises they can pause in any pose. We're usually stumpier & clumsier because we’re saving energy! Who cares if others see us? Nothing much preys on us now. But when we take the trouble, in dance, running, or stalking, we can (though need not) show grace.
Someone like Jasha, with 1000 years of life, is likely to progress from lazy uncontrolled grace to conscious control to conscious grace which becomes automatic. I fantasize a dialog with Jasha about it. She says “These stages probably apply to a much broader spectrum of attributes than mere grace. True of all deep learning.”
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