Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good Fortune and Safety to All Who Enter Here

My brother-in-law recently visited our home for the first time and christened it as being both "calm and peaceful." He commented on liking the greenish hued paint and said he thought the house suited us well. Coming from Coire (pronounced "Corey"), this is a huge compliment. It's not because Coire doesn't offer compliments often; it's because he is something of an inherent interior designer. As Dustin says, "Coire can come into a room, decide that a red stripe needs to be painted vertically down the wall and when he's done it, it looks really good and you're left wondering how the hell a random red line down a wall could work. Somehow, he just has a knack for it. He just knows what will look good." 

This can be proven by merely stepping foot into Coire's own home. There is a fluidity to the setup and furniture, a cool feel to the rocky-faced living room tabletops and tan leather couches that makes one think of an Asian rock garden, carefully crafted. At one point, there was a rock-fountain against the wall that seemed to whisper "serenity" and the home felt like nature domesticated. There is something about the way Coire views the world that allows him to take something otherwise bland and boring and make it pop. I often think if I were to simply name an emotion, Coire could design any room to portray it perfectly.

Coire's also quite observant and one of the few, if not the only, people to have commented on the swastika that can be found on the floor at every entrance of our home (image to the right). Most people don't notice it since the sticker is quite small and blends in with the tile beneath it, not to mention most people aren't looking at the ground when they enter a house. My brothers each wear a gold necklace with a swastika pendant that stays tucked into their shirts, but my eldest brother told me he has nearly gotten into fights with people who don't understand the true meaning behind the symbol. When Coire mentioned it, I feared he might think I was a Nazi-sympathizer or racist so I explained the origin behind the symbol.

The swastika is a Hindu religious symbol (it might also be good to note that Hindus are pacifists), second in strength only to the Om. It comes from the Sanskrit "svasti" meaning "good fortune" and is common in India. Various translations can be "good fortune," "auspiciousness," "harmony" or "welcome," among others. To stereotype, Indians tend to be fairly superstitious and when I moved into my home, my father put an "Om" above two of the three doors and a swastika at the main entrance, telling me that it would keep me safe and protect the house. I, for my own part, am superstitious, as well, but became more superstitious when "friends" would "let themselves in" (translate to: break into) my house, but always through the side entrance, the one without a swastika or Om. After coming back from a trip to India, I stuck an Om and swastika at the remaining entrance, the one people used to let themselves in through, and have since had no break-ins. (Hence, my superstition was gratified.)

Coire's logical next question was, why did Hitler take and use the swastika? The answer: because he thought it was a symbol of racial purity and superiority, perpetuated by the speculation that early Indian inhabitants were white invaders. So Hitler took this Aryan symbol and used it to represent his ideal, as well as playing on the idea of "harmony" (believing the world would be harmonious under his rule and the extinction of Jews...etc.). In doing so, he re-defined a revered religious symbol meaning harmony and good fortune to be recognized, instead, as a symbol of hatred and genocide.

We both agreed this was a sad result for a peaceful symbol.

When Coire left, he took an extra swastika with him to place on the floor at the entrance of his home and I couldn't help but feel as though we'd taken something back somehow, by spreading the symbol and using it for good. I just hope the rest of the world can follow the same pacifist, harmonious suit.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I did not know that about the swastika. Very interesting.