My father remained at heart a rural Yorkshireman. He used address form “thou” to distinguish his intimates from the wider world – “you”. English has this in its roots, similar to the French “tu” and the German “du”.
That it has fallen from use – diminishes us a little. I remember what it is to be addressed as thou. Intimate, warm, enfolding. “Eh, lad thou art…”.
The Jewish existentialist Martin Buber uses the form brilliantly in German. Distinguishing between Sie and Du, Ich und Es. He said “To man the world is two-fold .. the attitude of man is two-fold .. the one primary word is the combination I-Thou, the other is the combination I-It”.
I-thou is a relationship of inner to inner, an authentic encounter that is the touchstone of existence. (I-thou creating “our”).
Of course, Buber wrote in German and Du has currency in contrast to Sie or Es, whereas in English we now reserve intimate addressing for our relationship with God. How ironic!
In our English language how can we now mark the transition in relationships between the formality of “you are” and the caress of “thou art”? And when and why did we lose the rich language of intimacy?
Surely thou-ness was clear in the minds of the scholars constructing the King James Bible in 1611. Perhaps the slow death of this way of celebrating friendship is linked to the four hundred year rise of materialism since the reformation?
Perhaps as the smoke clears and we see the I-It debris left by capitalism and atheism a new expression of thou-ness will appear.
Let us pray so.
“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – The Evolution of Chastity,” in Toward the Future, 1936, XI, 86-87)
“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
There is a little known law of nature, with deep implications for reality. In the 1970’s it was shown that the amount of information in any space was proportional to its area, not its volume. Weird, since space is not two-dimensional.
A theory has been developed that explains this – that the Universe is actually a holographic projection from the outside and only appears three dimensional here, within it. It was Jakob Bekenstein who came up with that, and implied that the Universe we experience is actually the inside of a black hole in the larger Universe.
Juan Maldacena published a paper in 1997 reinforcing this, in which he showed that you could consider the Universe to be a form of holographic projection. (Apparantly – I’ve only read about it – he’s a string theorist so by definition almost incomprehensible).
So, if that’s true then reality that we perceive as material and final is more like the shadows dancing on the wall of Plato’s Cave. In his Allegory of the Cave he postulated that what we perceive is only the shadow on a cave wall of the “ideal” reality beyond and outside. According to Maldacena and Bekenstein- what we perceive as 4 dimensional space-time is actually a holograph inside a black hole of what is outside and beyond.
” According to the allegory, man’s condition is one of bondage to perceptions. When man is chained up with only a fire behind him, he perceives the world by watching shadows on the wall. He does not realize that there is more to be seen or known, and as such leads a largely passive, disinterested life. So long as his basic needs are met, he does not ask questions. Many believe that this is a statement about people who do not overtly seek knowledge or truth, but rather accept what they are told or what they can immediately experience.” Philos.org, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
We danced as we gathered
Fresh sublimation of triple-point stars
To the covalent ceildh of clouds
Skylark ascending acceleration of joy
Heel-toe the tapping magnetic the tempo
Crescendo the cresting
Pregnant with knowing
Out flowing in ozone of love
Raining, tip-tripping we’re falling, soft folding away
Each in our droplet, clear-crystalline skin
Singly we sing, conjoint in orchestral skein
And tip-tap-tip slip-slopping
Hoh o hoh tippie-toe flowing
Torrents a-gurgling, giggle-atumbling
Drenching dry frictional sand
Glisten to demara-gold strand
Mixing dust into lusting
Slaking memory with fire
Returning we quaff
As we laugh.
Phlebas the Phoenician, reconstituted
Crying was pulled from the deep sea swell
Wrenched through world enough, and time
To act again on the stage of her youth
Through this whirlpool ent’ring the clouds (trailing glory)
Through tongues of fire she arose
(To be won)
The journey of water starts as molecule – HoH – evaporated from that sea, arising to form clouds, alive with brownian motion. On the one hand water represents eternal bonding – with the hydrogen and the oxygen atoms held-together through their covalent cloud of electrons through endless cycles of rebirth. A trinity. On the other – they associate variously – in droplets falling, through the rivers to the ocean. Together water retains a memory. (Mixing memory and desire). Water has a triple-point – at 0.1 degrees celcius at atmospheric pressure – where it’s different forms – solid, liquid and gas – are in equilibrium. The phase-change between ice and gas without passing through the liquid state – is called sublimation. An image of resurrection.
“We are one, after all, you and I. Together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“The universe as we know it is a joint product of the observer and the observed”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Quantum physics has proved that an observer is necessary in order to crystallise this or any other reality from the infinity of potential.
Carl Jung first wrote about the “collective unconscious”. This lies below and as a foundation of our own individual unconscious. It is a pooling between us, now and in the past. It is also one gateway (I believe) to the shared life beyond the fragility of our mind in the life – our material consciousness – the Brahman of Hinduism or Nirvana of Buddhism, that can be glimpsed through meditation.
The collective unconscious speaks in a language both of archetypes and mandalas. Archetypes are the powerful shared images which make so many movies effective for instance the monster in the dark of horror films and the ecstasy of union and community of Avatar. Mandalas reflect perfection in images and seem, at least to me to be linked to the beautiful fractals of chaos theory that underlay existence. (look at free fractal apps on your iPhone for a direct view of reality!).
It is only our mind, this particular consciousness that dies, this is anyway an illusion. If we can connect to the shared stream of unconsciousness now , then we already experience our immortality. Through prayer, meditation, connection with our loved ones or nature – even the cinema.
After all, the movies are right, forget what people call it – Avatar is what awaits. May the Force be with us.