Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A LONELY GHOST: TEN YEARS AFTER

MAN ON WIRE
PHILIPPE PETIT WALKING BETWEEN THE TWIN TOWERS
OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER , 1974
“Everything that’s ripe wants to die,” Nietzsche said. Maybe, but if you stop there, you end up, as Nietzsche did, in a mental institution. One of the things the Resurrection seems to say is that beauty never goes unseen. Our holy longing bears fruit, though we almost never live to see it. Charity triumphs over hatred, good triumphs over evil, the light shines in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

No love is lost, no love is ever wasted. We yearn to connect and after a long purification we see that we were already connected, we have always been connected, and we remain connected even if we are no longer physically with, say, the person we loved; even if we never see the person, or place, or thing again: even after death.

"I teach you the overman.
Man is something that shall be overcome."
NIETZSCHE, being cared for by his sister Elisabeth
during his final 10 years of mental/physical illness
Christianity takes everything that is paradoxical, absurd, harsh; sees it in the clearest possible light; and takes it one sublime, seemingly--but only seemingly--crazy step further. In my drinking years, I often thought contemptuously: You’d drink, too, if you saw the world with as clear an eye as I do. I used to think "believers" lived in a fairy-tale world, but belief, for me, has turned out to take a way clearer eye, way more courage, way more nerve than cynicism.

Now I see that the people I admire who believe--in beauty, in truth--have a kind of duende: a combination of grace, soul, wit, and class.

DAME MARGOT FONTEYN, PRIMA BALLERINA ASSOLUTA
CONTINUED DANCING INTO HER 50s, PARTLY IN ORDER
TO SUPPORT HER PLAYBOY HUSBAND, WHO SHE ADORED,
AND WHO'D BEEN SHOT (BY THE CUCKOLDED HUSBAND
OF ONE OF HIS LOVERS, THE RUMORS WENT) AND PARALYZED
In The New Man, Thomas Merton observed:

"Religions do not, in fact, simply supply answers to questions. Or at least they do not confine themselves to this until they become degenerate. Salvation is more than the answer to a question. To emerge alive from a disaster is not just the answer to the question, `Shall I escape?'

Everything hinges on the final issue, in the battle of life and death. Nothing is assured beforehand. Nothing is definitely certain. The issue is left to our own choice. But that is what constitutes the dark terror of the agonia: we cannot be sure of our own choice. Are we strong enough to continue choosing life when to live means to go on and on with this absurd battle of entity and nonentity in our own inmost self?"


OLIVIER MESSIAEN, 1908-1992
WHILE INTERNED IN A GERMAN DEATH CAMP
HE COMPOSED what is now the world-renowned QUARTET FOR THE END OF TIME.
ITS FIRST PERFORMANCE , BEFORE 5000 FELLOW PRISONERS,
 WAS ON JANUARY 15, 194

"Curiously, the chiming of the hour seemed to have put new heart in him. He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage."

--George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four 


EMILY DICKINSON, GENIUS.
OF THE 1800 POEMS SHE WROTE,
LESS THAN A DOZEN WERE PUBLISHED IN HER LIFETIME

4 comments:

  1. You’d drink, too, if you saw the world with as clear an eye as I do.

    I've been mulling over this since first reading it this morning. Do you suppose it's true of most addicts?

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  2. This is so good I want to cry.

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  3. Thanks, Bill and Nayhee...

    I'm not sure it's true of most addicts but I think it's true of people who for whatever reason have become spiritually corrupted...There's a chilling scene in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt where Joseph Cotten says to his young niece Charlie, “Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know if you ripped the fronts off houses, you'd find swine?"...I knew I was corrupted, so I projected it outward and/or assumed everyone else was corrupt, too.

    It's a great grace (if also a great conflict and a great horror), even after more or less turning toward the light, to know that evil is in me, not, or not only, out there...

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  4. Heather, this is beautiful.
    So well-written.

    I think addicts feel, even when sober they don't belong, they are apart from( even when in a room of people.)

    Stunning piece of writing and thought.

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