Dao Li: The GEETUS Manifesto

Posted on April 11, 2012

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The things we distinguish as real change, while their names do not. How then can reality be known through names? Red Pine

Diego El Moro (left) and Fuyou Huang playing Wei Qi. Photo courtesy of Jia Yue Huang.

Taoists have long understood the folly of language and its limitations to capture reality within its silly arbitrary cages, and here at Saudade Brothers it is in the untranslateable where the heart resides. Indeed the term saudade itself reckons as one of the world’s most untranslateable concepts. Ponder, then, my sisters and brothers in beats and spirits the word GEETUS.

Wanted: My Geetus.

First coined by barrel-chested Don Van Vliet disciples in Minnesota in the 18th Century, geetus has ever since filled a glaring void in the English language that you never realized existed until using it for the first time, and figures among Scandinavian’s most priceless contributions to human discourse, challenged only perhaps by lagom.

The great Urban Dictionary lists the definition of geetus as “One’s own personal aura or style.” But one may argue that it is so much more than that. Simply put, if one may put it simply, one’s geetus is one’s raison d’être, one’s reason for being, the natural manifestation of one’s unique oneness. Geetus refers simultaneously to the big picture as in “Yo, Barcelona’s tiki-taka geetus is pure genius and totally unstoppable,” or “What the hell, dude – Fernando Torres has totally lost his geetus,” as well as to the minutae of personal style as in “Why’s Jay always rocking the courderoys? Hey man, thats just Jay – he’s got the courderoy geetus. Nuff respect.”

Shenzhen: Massive Geetus.

Recently my wanderings have led me to the southern Chinese port city of Shenzhen, where I sipped DA HONG PAO tea and played Wei Qi for 12 days straight with the venerable hermit calligraphy master Fuyou Huang. In our long and rambling conversations (he speaks no English and I no Chinese), master Huang discussed with me the Chinese concept of Dao Li (道理).

Fuyou Huang

The first character, Dao , is the same Dao as in Taoism, meaning “The way, the path.” The second character, Li , means today, somewhat superficially, “Reason,” but its roots are much more intriguing. It originally referred to the pattern of the grain found in jade or wood, and so carries with it the sense of something’s essence or essential nature. Together, then, Dao Li means “The path or way of one’s unique essence or nature” – geetus.

Dao Li, by Fuyou Huang.

An untranslateable concept translated. Cultures, languages and writing systems be damned, the geetus is human and the geetus is at the source. What, if not the geetus, do the Upanishads refer to when they say:

You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny. (From the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.)

Obviously the geetus is heavyweight vibes reality for us in the Komuso Collective and for anyone else savvy enough to use a word with a double-v. So join the geetus manifesto: take it to spell check and right click Add to dictionary. Its a revolution one word document at a time.

Posted in: Diego El Moro