Arts

Alive in the World: Beyond Poetry and Science

The sun rises in the east? No, not really. It materializes in the fog. Sure, objectively, the earth turns, and there the sun is, ta da, but, seriously, look:


But is it fog? Fog suggests “clouding and obscurity” and “lack of sight”, which is synonymous with “sea” and “breið” or “breadth” or “brightness.” It closes one in. But does it?

The body doesn’t experience it as a closing in! But let’s step back a step. Sea the sun there, burning in the breath of Kalamalka Lake, hidden behind the old trail to Head of the Lake and from there Grand Prairie and the North.

Look how that sun cools, and the breath, quickened by the now quickened air, rises in more watery forms …

… and flows, and weaves with the sun. Sounds like poetry, doesn’t it. Pshaw, scientists know more than this, but do they?

I’d say the geese know…

…and scientists, well, they are using different words for different ends, but this is not poetry. It is a place where the body speaks and we can come and listen, but not with ears, and not to mathematics or words, but to, well, birds, and trees, and what they are in our mind when our mind is the world.

This is an example of the wisdom of our ancestors, and how much our bodies know. They are only a talk of spiritual or animistic powers when distanced from participation. Up to that point, they are precise descriptions, using the precise meaning of our words, to describe the experience of living in the world, which is not an aesthetic thing, nor a sublime, romantic thing, for those are all part of the Enlightenment project that also gave us science.

To a mind trained and harnessed by that Enlightenment, that sounds like poetry. To a mind that is a body in the whirl, the hurricane, the whirlpool, the world, the Orkan, the organ, the UR, the initial utterance of the world that has no “meaning” because meaning is memory and this is not memory but minding, the rrrrrrrr of the run, the roar, the Rhine, the Rhône, the river, the rush, rapid, rill, rip and ripple that is the energy of the whirl roaring through the world, through its own winding on the spindle whorl of the universe, this is not tree nor mountain nor fog nor light nor bird.

It is a great stirring. It is one, not separate. Science has made it its project to unravel these skeins and trace out the line of individual threads so they can be combined into new cloth: new clothes for the earth and the body, and new thought for the mind. However, it does not own that territory, for we have this other language to do the same, and where science excels at separating, and recombining with artfulness and artifice, the body and its words excel at expressing wholeness and presence, within wholeness — not as art, but in the same form as science.

Currently, environmental science has found powerful and wondrous tools for expressing this wholeness by using artificial intelligence to create elaborate artificial, mathematically-induced scenarios that can project random potentialities in both the past and the future. That is wondrous. In the end, however, it must all combine here, and for that we need words and concepts, and for that it’s good to recognize that there is a vast distance between saying “the sun rises in the east” and “the sun rises in the fog of the lake.” In the former, we must talk of interference with the pure light of the sun. In the latter, we are open to speak of this Earth as an embodiment of this light, in which all facets contain light’s power and potential.

Even when they appear dark. That is not darkness. It is the light of the body. The words are precise, not poetic. It is light.

At the moment, we have a language that does not easily see the image above as a representation of complex social, mathematical, economic, spiritual and personal relationships, and so calls them metaphors, but look how quickly the light changes, and birds and mood with it.

Mood is a measuring tool, not an expression of emotion. It is a rising to the sun and a crossing of thought through the breadth of the eye, without memory, because the river, the whirl of the world, the well of the will that is the wild, can only be entered once, as Herakleitos put it.

Science insists that we can do it again and again, but that is self-defeating. That is an alchemical understanding and is not synonymous with organized thought. Painters and sculptors have known all this since forever, or rather, they have never forgotten. Dancers have always known this. Perhaps we have had to forget, in order to remember, to re-member, to put the world back together again, to tell its story so it lives in the mind. This is the mind:

We who mind the world do well to mind ourselves there, which is not to say, hey, let’s look after these geese, eh. That’s not it. It’s to say “be well”, which is to be well, to be in the outpouring of the flow from nothing, and what is that? Well, it’s the sun and the earth and the water it lifts into breath. Anything else is a distance, that has no place in a unified environment and which must be brought in from the cold. In this we can follow the rivers and estuaries of our minds cast upon the air.

There in breath we live with the sun — not in it, but with it.

And that’s appropriate for creatures of a planet — creations of a planet — 135,000,000 kilometres from a well of Hydrogen, that appears here, as close as the sky resting on your tongue…

… or on your hand …

… or in the flutter of your heart.

Remember: this is not poetry. Poetry is an artefact, an artifice, a spearpoint, a tattoo, a dance for court, and an act of the union of warfare and love. There is much room for poetry, but it has little bearing outside of the ballrooms and audience chambers of courtly status. For those of us who live on earth instead, to whom courts are colonial distractions, it’s good to know that we can move forward with the earth instead and be ourselves at last after long imprisonment.

7 replies »

  1. They are all great photographs. But especially the first one hit me more… The sky, land, snow, trees and the houses, they are amazing. Thank you, love, nia

    Like

  2. Thank you, Harold. This, especially, spoke to me as wisdom profound and revealing: ”
    This is an example of the wisdom of our ancestors, and how much our bodies know. They are only a talk of spiritual or animistic powers when distanced from participation. Up to that point, they are precise descriptions, using the precise meaning of our words, to describe the experience of living in the world, which is not an aesthetic thing, nor a sublime, romantic thing, for those are all part of the Enlightenment project that also gave us science.”

    By the way, our farm is called Eskerhazy, excuse the pun.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.