Archive for September, 2015

Faces

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

 

“… I have never been aware before

how many faces there are.

There are quantities of human beings,

but there are many more faces,

for each person has several.”

Rilke -Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

The Greek word for face is prosopon. 

It came, for obvious reasons, to mean person. 

To see a face is to see a person.

From birth it is the face, rather than anything else,

that grabs our attention.

There are times when faces reveal and times when they conceal.

At all times the face of the other challenges me,

forces itself on my attention.

In Levinas’ words – I am not an ‘unto-myself’,

but a ‘standing-before-the-other’.

The other evokes a response,

makes a claim on my existence.

We are linked.

I cannot be indifferent.

To some extent I am responsible.

Messages

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

For me now

there is only the God-space

into which I send out

my probes. I had looked forward

to old age as a time

of quietness, a time to draw

my horizons about me,

to watch memories ripening

in the sunlight of a walled garden.

But there is the void

over my head and the distance

within that the tireless signals

come from. And astronaut

on impossible journeys

to the far side of the self

I return with messages

I cannot decipher . . . R S Thomas

“… it probably sounds very pretentious when I say the I feel impelled to explain my inner processes to all mankind.

Not to some individual in a private conversation but to all mankind, yes, to all of them…

It is nonsense of course, sitting at my desk and making a fool of myself because I can’t find the right words,

but sometimes I feel as if everything I experience deep down is not just for me, that I have no right to keep it to myself, that I must account for it…

As if in this tiny slice of human history I were one of the many receiving sets which have to retransmit messages.”

(Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesom 1941 – 1943, Smelik, K.A.D ed, Eerdmans, Cambridge 2002, p. 393)

Silence

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

Morning – the reality of my dreamworld imposes on my waking mood.

So real – almost tangible – emotion filled – then the dreams evaporate like morning mist.

A false reality… fake… spurious…?

Or a window into something more.

And then, during the day, during the routine activities, thoughts of another reality,

or perhaps a non-reality,

intrude – thoughts of an afterlife.

Whenever I think of the other-life world of dreams, I wonder whether the after-life world of death might not be something similar.

That would make it very like the after-life dimension of the ancient Greeks, Hades, shadowy and unsubstantial.

Not really greatly to be desired but better, perhaps, than total annihilation.

And in my heart I don’t believe the afterlife is anything like that.

The glimpses of a transcendent reality that I have had all through my life must count for something.

 

Later… walking on a beautiful sunny day.

I am deeply moved by the silence,

silence that is accentuated by the gentle sound of the sea and the wind.

The silence is like the sea – vast, deep.

I just want to stand here by the sea and lose myself in it.

Lose myself… I begin to understand the emptiness beloved of Zen.

Sunyata.

What is experienced in this vast emptiness cannot be articulated, cannot be conceived,

but it is felt.