News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: By Way of Evading an Introduction

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

By Way of Evading an Introduction

It is true that the human can’t function without placing the things of this world into pre-arranged cubbyholes. If each view from the mountain crest or desert floor is defined by its horizon, then I must admit that I’m indeed not free. For no matter what height I reach or what nadir I sink to–even from the farthest nook and cranny of the cosmos–I will still find limit and its impetuous opposite unlimit. And as I define myself by my limits, so I define myself against or with my non-limitations. ...

Still, humans cannot live too long without limit. For without limit and structure, the mind melts into a gelatinous mass of chromatically inspiring images whose psychedelic pomp fascinate but only deceive us into forgetting the abyss from which they come and into which they eventually crawl. Yet, just as much as I define myself by the hard scrabble of life to maintain a proper relationship to others and myself, so I must expand those boundaries that close in and reduce me to a particle of less than cosmic dust.

Whatever you want to call it, this thing or experience inside finds no consolation in the actions and reactions to physical rudiments. In many cultures there’s a myth that some use to ward off evil, defend against danger, and heal social and individual ills. In the depths of winter, the coldest and darkest time of the year, when food is low and everyone is getting on each other’s nerves, the myths are told over and over again. When someone is sick, the individual is returned to the primeval origins of the world so that they can regain the power that once ignited the natural world in its fecundity. When invaders threatened to overwhelm the defenses after killing, the myth is told to remind them where they came from and to reinvigorate the will to fight and stave off extinction. The myth served a variable purpose, calling on ages that were simultaneous gone and yet present, it spanned past present and future in one moment of immense simultaneity...

I don’t want to dwell on this argument. It appears to pit subjective versus objective experience and tangentially elicits the debate between humanist and Enlightenment sensibilities, eventuating in the later Romantic versus scientific squabble. For the moment, all that I assert is that experiences of limit and unlimit are common to humans. That humans experience something that they perceive as originating in an internal dimension that acts as a measure for how they see themselves and gauge their potential for action and response in the world. There seems to be an awareness of an internal world or reality that poses routes and possibilities outside the

Further examples must wait for later. May the ghosts of Shestov, Plato, Socrates, Berdyaev, Whitman and so many others (peace be unto their memories) rest soundly, secure in the knowledge that their words have inspired me but have passed over into the nothingness of my everyday life.

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