In The Arms of Poetry.

Among my misfortunes is that I cannot follow what I can so clearly see. My self-consciousness (in its most literal form, as in consciousness of self) is eclipsed by my idealization. Thus my proceedings often, despite an acute holistic awareness and insight, follow the course of naivety and myopia. People find me hypocritical for this reason. As a good friend recently reminded me: the teacher cannot be taught.

But what is the reason for this form of masochism? Why can I, upon approaching those I trust, analyze my own situation perfectly, draw out with eloquence and epiphany what the missing piece is before advice from the other has even been suggested, but then proceed in spite of myself in what would be assumed as the wrong direction? Some call this passivity. Some (for instance, me when discussing the situations of others) call it fear.

The reason is because I believe in the power and course of chaos. I believe situations work themselves out (not exactly towards the point of final rectification, however; the nature of Truth may be implied from statements below) and that from the winds of chaos blow the breeze of order. I believe in the forms (forever shifting) of the abstract. I believe in the inherent, and hidden, purity and goodness of things. I believe in Love and Self. I believe in consciousness, both personally and collectively. I believe in the unconscious. I believe in the limitless strata of this very existence which are always flowing, always forming and coming apart again only to intertwine in harmonious difference. I believe in the flowing river which both drowns and directs home. I believe in Poetry.

These are not conceptions easily grasped by others, especially in this western world of modern science, of politicians, of exploitation, and social degradation. These conceptions are brushed off as too conservative, too vague, too essentialist, too formulaic, too indirect; too “unreal.” These people are often those you’ll find at church on Sundays. Nevertheless, you’ll notice in the above paragraph my belief in consciousness. And so therefore I can present my awareness (again, as indicated above) of the finite, fragile stick on which the flame flickers. I can declare with humility my shortcomings and follies. The strength of my consciousness grounds me in situations, and, as you say, we should always be in the moment. But moments exist not as they are, but in context and concept. We exist outside of physicality, outside of the body, of the room, of tangible conflict. We are out of our control…though we exist, and we say, and we do, and we move. And when the elements converge, when physical and non-physical, “real” and “unreal,” meet and meld this is communion, our step away from, and towards, alienation. From Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

“The human being has two states of consciousness: one in this world, the other in the next. But there is a third state between them, not unlike the world of dreams, in which we are aware of both worlds, with their sorrows and joys.”

This is Faith. Not fate, nor destiny, but Faith in the innocence and goodness of things as they were, as they are, and as they should be again. But Faith is not such an easy thing to maintain. I can see where the narrow minded reader may see in these thoughts a tilt, a certain “blinded optimism.” The more thoughtful, mature reader, however, should take from my accentuation of consciousness and harmony (in addition to whatever she may know of my psychological readings) my belief in the shadow existing alongside the light. The dark must exist with the light, the evil with the good, in order to form the whole of existence. We are forever in conversation, not dictation. But Hate is too powerful a foe for Love. How feebly Light acquiesces to shadow. Civility, humanity (community by our nature as humans), falters, hides, dies. The crystalline river, fathomless in depth, becomes blackened, polluted. It flows no longer towards Home. Faith is challenged by science, by desire, by evil, by fear. Faith is challenged by the situations of our own physical lives. The body strangles the spirit and we are left unwhole and jaded.

So what are we to do in the face of these powerful foes? What are we to do when we stare into eyes as striking and pure as that crystalline river and know that they deceive? When one speaks with words of love and promise, but when known to manipulate? How can I kiss away your pain if a pill can do it more effectively? How can I have faith in that which so mocks it? We can adore without faith, but can we love? Can we work?

When Faith submits it ceases to be Faith. Several years ago I wrote my undergraduate English thesis on the notion of hope in Waiting for Godot. In it Vladimir and Estragon exist, despite their poetic and philosophic aptitude, only for Godot, an abstract concept, a non-physical presence (leaving out intentionally here my analysis of the boy who sees Godot). As the world beats them down, as time whithers their bodies, the two representatives for humanity are left with nothing for which to live. Except Godot. And so they wait and they endure. They infuse merciless time with superficial trivialities—exercising, singing, gazing, fighting, dribble—all to wait for Godot, a being whom they have no true confirmation will come or even exists, but a being whom they know must exist. What of their Faith?

And so when we hold in our arms, feel against our physical bodies, that deceptive thing we do so because we feel its spiritual purity. We feel its hidden, un-matured presence somewhere in that dark passion. Through the passion we see the sorrow.  When our own blood boils just the same in the wake of a kiss we kiss again with the might of Mars, believing Venus to keep that blood flowing to the heart. We see the deceptive darkness of desire but we transcend it, not exploit it. Though we see not the pure unitive force, we feel it, we believe it, because if we didn’t what would be the point?

But is my feeling, my faith, simply my own naive passion? Am I making this all up because I’m passive and afraid of a cruel, crude, hopeless reality? Am I forming things from my own entranced adoration? Am I so deceived like that one who does in fact exist?


About grasshopperstothemoon

“Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.”
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