January 6th, 2012

T. S. Eliot: Not the intense moment (from The Four Quartets)

Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.

Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter

We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

T. S. Eliot: Not the intense moment (from The Four Quartets)

Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
When then and now cease to matter?
When here and there cease to matter?
I know i can forget the then and there
(The past and future times and places.)
But how do i comprehend the absence
(even the mental absence)
of here and now
without going to when or to where?

Perfect Enjoyment

The right and the wrong (on this point of enjoyment) cannot indeed be determined according to (the view of) the world; nevertheless, this doing nothing (to obtain it) may determine the right and the wrong. Since perfect enjoyment is (held to be) the keeping the body alive, it is only by this doing nothing that that end is likely to be secured. Allow me to try and explain this (more fully): Heaven does nothing, and thence comes its serenity; Earth does nothing, and thence comes its rest. By the union of these two inactivities, all things are produced. How vast and imperceptible is the process! – they seem to come from nowhere! How imperceptible and vast! – there is no visible image of it! All things in all their variety grow from this Inaction. Hence it is said,

'Heaven and Earth do nothing, and yet there is nothing that they do not do.' xviii, 1

But what man is there that can attain to this inaction?

Chuang Tzu Based on James Legge's Translation - The Gold Scales

(From Non-Being and Non-Doing)....
All actions proceed,
All things are made.
How vast, how invisible
This coming-to-be!
All things come from nowhere!
How vast, how invisible--
No way to explain it!
All beings in their perfection
Are born of non-doing
Hence ir is said:
  'Heaven and Earth do nothing
  yet there is nothing they do not do.'

....(W)ho can attain
to this non-doing? -- Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu.

Writer's Block: Hello, World!

What is your earliest memory?
I don't have very many childhood memories, or many adult ones for that matter.  People will discuss my past with me, show me photographs of my childhood and youth, ask me if i remember such and such.  The answer invariably is: "no, i don't."  Then memories are created for me by the words of the elder person.  I am also unclear about those very few memories that i do consider really mine.  One that i was sure was mine was as follows: i was about 4 years old; i had to relieve myself in the middle of the night.  So i went to the outhouse, about 200 yards away (but then how does a 4-year-old judge distance).  It was very dark, so i left the door open so the stars and moon could shine in.  A cow came and stood in the doorway.  She was huge, totally blocking my escape.  I sat their trembling until she went away.  Many, many years later i mentioned this recollection to my younger brother.
He said; "Oh, that happened to me also."  Had i stolen my first memory from my little brother?