As we enter the world we are infinite. We have no boundary. We are also zero. At three months, or so, we begin to distinguish that there is an “other” – the breast as part object. By 6 months old the boundary between us and the other (usually mother) is clear; and often frightening. Warmth, food, security and affection can be withdrawn as well as present. Our world is strait, though we do not know it. As we age and explore we push the boundary back; and back. If we are fortunate, and conquer our fear, we realise once more that there is no boundary. We are existence and all of existence is us. Death is an illusion. When we leave the world we can then fade to white and lose the loneliness and fear that haunts life, to experience all that is directly once more.
I haven’t heard from you for a while? Anyway I was reminded of you because last night I saw this great Mark Morris show to Ivor Cutler’s music and poems. I thought of you there in Glasgow. Have you ever been to London? What a great place. Saw an exhibition by Paul Klee (hadn’t crossed my radar before.. blown away). Somehow Ivor and Paul seem to belong together – an unlikely couple I know, but there you are… maybe they’re in the dog haus together?
By the way, 3 years after your birthday I’m still working on my present of you – or your present to me (Now? ha ha?). I’ve put a recording below. Don’t know if you still read my letters, but if so hope to hear from you soon.
So quantum physics shows that it is observation that crystallises out the particular universe we inhabit. The material is in the past. We are working as observation engines at the immaterial present creating reality.
Quite a responsibility.
Which reality should we create and inhabit?
Bertrand Russell’s.. “all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins”
Charles Wesley’s .. “lost in wonder, love and praise”
Russell’s despair was born before the science which tells us..
that the choice is ours
It’s knit one and pearl one my darling
The pattern’s a smile for your skin
A pulled-over fabric for living
Whose weft is the kith of your kin
Don’t look away now as i ravel
The knots of the skein of my strife
Don’t leave me alone as i travel
The stumbling first steps of this life
I’m here right inside you, as sister and mother
Im here right beside you, here with our brother
The centre cannot hold (so they say)
But its us, we and love, that is truth
So its knit one and pearl one my darling
You must work out your pattern of loving
To fill your vortex of loneliness
With the ocean of joy that is life
This is a film which moves me. It was made last month by my daughter in tribute to her brave friend who died aged 23 – Hilary Donald.
The Jewish existentialist Martin Buber 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.