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In Consideration of Enlightenment
Layers of words ply the blood of their sacrificial goat.
To be a reader is to arrive at the altar of language. The strata of language are earth, mountain - materiality piles of phoneme and grapheme.
When reading is industrial or wildcatter mining of such matter, it’s consumption - values are predetermined despite prospective investment in a big strike. The reader consumes the material and envisioned riches are in terms already understood. Greed is fed in voracious service to indisputablity of taste. Truth remains malnourished. What gets gainfully extracted - sucked out - is only what one already wants to have. Never has the reader been more empowered by capitalism, social media, and mechanisms of popularization: a constant buyer’s market installs readers’ rule. Thus, the sovereign (tyrannical) resentment of offense or dissent - or challenge. Thus, repudiation of the autocratic reader’s great rival: authorial authority.
But to be a reader is to arrive at the altar of language. A pillar of bile uprises to light. Proper minding. You bring your sovereignty to bear on what meanings spill from words spiraling above themselves as mere sound and scribble.
An honest reading in openness to what is there in the writing, if what is there is indeed expansive to the reader’s experience, presents the reader with thoughts, visions, imaginings beyond what was thought, envisioned, imagined before. Imposed change on the brain, on the life. Exactly what is resisted at all costs by the consumer: change. A true reading changes the reader. Thus, the work is compelling.
Rightfully resist what is below, what is beneath you; that’s critical thinking, and paramount to your integrity. For salvation, though, willingly sacrificed identity gets its intestines slit - what vapors ascend!
Openness is brave but vulnerable. Your own terror understands its rip. To approach what is really there above you and beyond you is opening to the unknown. Sure, an open field is possibility. Yet, this is body and Self - the gash is what’s most real. An open wound.
Putin’s War. Headline morning of this writing: Russia's invasion of Ukraine intensifies with missile attacks and street fighting in Kyiv - updated on 9:02am cbsnews.com. Moments in time, now, that are also history.
None of us know what is to come. Events circle the globe, but you wouldn’t know it from the quietness of my environment. Uprooted tree outside our breakfast nook. It’s small enough to haul to the curb for pick up by the city. Spring will be incomplete this year - I’ll miss being surprised by its lace-happy bloom.
My present has quiet space for mindfulness, peace in the heart. A kind of prayer. For Gaia. For awareness. In grief, for all who simply want to live their lives.
An instinct, regarding the higher. An intimation: someday I’ll be ready. Is it credible that Homer, Dante, Moby Dick are unequal to our times and entertainment? Or worse, to our morality or aesthetics? Not to mention Shakespeare, and Akhnaton’s “Hymn to the Sun.” If wisdom of the ages or spiritual grandeur isn’t a stretch, it’s a summons. Understanding awaits. You know when you’re going against conscience. Likewise, you know when you’re resisting an epiphany. Maybe it’s necessary: how T. E. Lawrence, “in fear of a revelation,” declined to account for the ragged grey-bearded desert wanderer who could utter “the love is from God; and of God; and towards God,” which single sentence threatened to overturn Lawrence’s theories of Arabia.
For further instance, many rhetorical questions have answers. Why is this happening? Why is there evil in the world? Why are people like this? They’re just not the answers we want to hear.
Because most rhetorical questions aren’t actual questions; they’re laments.
We want sympathy. We want fellow feeling. As with Lawrence, we want to keep going as we’ve been going - perhaps this is strength of character.
We don’t want to understand.
The army was advancing, and as they advanced, the Jewish population retreated en masse, abandoning cities and villages. I longed to put them down on my canvases, to get them out of harm's way.
- Marc Chagall, My Life