09 June 2005

The Other Side Of Surrender1

What sustains. I was cleaning my room a couple of weeks ago.

It is impossible to clean an entire room. It must be impossible to clean an entire life. First the furniture. Then the drawers. Then sorting. It takes half a day to sort, but it is especially difficult for those, like me, who finds it hard to throw away things.

I was looking at 3 long rows of encoded, photocopied and printed out materials from prose, poetry, criticism to pinoyexchange threads. What I used to laugh at before weren't funny any more. A turn of phrase that astonished me once had grown stale.

But those which aged with me:
the moon not less in its halfness2

you seemed a sort of mirage, until I drank you3
Cringe-worthy as it may sound, I'm drowning in a sea of me. With all this continual cleaning, I later on incurred negative intoxication (my personal poetic term for cough and cold.) So much dust from the past!

My friend, Morx, told me that if ever his book collection caught fire, he would want every pulp gone, because if there was a piece left, there'd be something tangible to remind you of the loss.

Being the selfish materialistic person that I am, I would like to be burned as well. But then again I never get too far in proving that I am as selfish and materialistic as I think.
what you have is not yours, what you give is yours4
1. David Deida: 'Give yourself to love itself, without a shred of you remaining. Die completely into loving. When you return, when your sense of self is recollected, you will be refreshed through and through, washed awake by the innocence lying wide on the other side of surrender.'
2. Anne Michaels
3. Paul Monette
4. Committed (the comic strip)

03 June 2005

Better Articulation Of Things Learned Earlier

Jamie James (22):
We shall never know exactly to what extent the historical Pythagoras corresponds to the Master of humanist tradition, any more than we shall ever know who actually wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, or whether all those spiritual utterances in the Gospels were really said by the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Yet the doubts themselves are anachronistic: the point is that through the vast span of history in which Pythagorean humanism (and the study of Homer, and Christianity) were vibrant intellectual forces, there was never a shadow of doubt as to the authenticity and veracity of the tradition. You can put quotation marks around "Pythagoras" if that will make you feel more up-to-date, but it will not alter the meaning; the people who pursued Pythagoreanism over the course of thousands of years did believe, implicitly, in the historicity of the Master. The real Jesus may have been a charlatan, but the Jesus worshipped by millions of people changed the course of history; and it would be wrong, regardless of what a thousand copiously annotated doctoral dissertations may say, to attribute the Iliad to Anonymous.
James (18):
In this century the classics have slipped to the periphery of the curriculum, and in the place of enquiring humanism we now have condescending nihilism: the modern intelligentsia smiles at Christian fundamentalists, at credulous followers of absurd schools of psychotherapy, at adherents of what is called the New Age. Yet if people are driven to feel a connection with the Absolute by wearing crystal jewelry and listening to voice from beyond grave, as naïve as those beliefs may be perhaps we ought not castigate them for abandoning science--for has not science abandoned them? Is it reasonable to expect that the man in the street will be content with being told, "Your life is pointless, and you are destined to be a sterile, meaningless speck of stardust, but be of good cheer: science will tell you how to power your automobile with pig droppings"?

James, Jamie. The Music of the Spheres. New York: Copernicus, 1993.

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