bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,
bobby1933
bobby1933

Generic Meditation Issues: Poetry and Prose

...The aim of scientific language is to provide exactly defined and unambiguous statements about reality; that of poetic language is to communicate reality, itself as experienced by means of imagery, evocation, tone, and the ambiguity--or rather the ambivalence--of paradox, of symbol.  That is not to say that poetic language is nebulous, vague, uncertain: on the contrary, the cutting edge of great poetry is sharper and digs deeper than that of any prose.  But we shall never hear what the mystic ( or the poet, or the musician) has to tell us if we are listening on the wrong wavelength. --Gerald Vann, O.P.

This was part of the "translator's note to Tielhard de Chardin's  Hymn of the Universe (which includes hie "Mass on the World,"  The Mass is "evocative" and beautiful.  It is also unorthodox and, arguably, heretical from a Roman Catholic point of view.  I'm not sure the Church has made up its mind yet about Chardin.

Vann, in his translator' note goes on in this vein for a another paragraph, writing and thinking, writing and thinking until he finally gets it wrong.  But a clue to where he is going is found in the last sentence of the above paragraph.  We must listen to the mystic on the right wavelength!

Max Weber once described himself as "religiously tone deaf" although, at another time, he also described himself as a "mystic."  (a contradiction that I, personally, have no trouble with)  I am probably that way myself.  I see truth in most of the different brands of all of the wortld's religions without being able to rank them on a scale of "zero to ten."  I admit a personal bias in favor of philosophical Taoism, but that is just what it is, a personal bias.  Arguments about which is best (unless you also get on the wrong side of my economic, political, racial, or gender biases while making your point) just leave me cold.

I;m the same way with music and poetry.  rhythm prevails over harmony, lyrics over music, meaning over beauty.  My favorite poets are Robert Service and William Blake (in that order).  Many who read this post have a love of music, some are musicians, and I'm sure you would all find my preferences there unformed and uninformed.

I'm not sure I have more than one "wavelength"  (The symtomollogy of autism suggests that some "normal" "wavelengths" might be missing.)  The first paragraph I ever read on phenomenology made be a believer.  Of course, how can it be otherwise.  There is a "reality" which is subjective or intersubjective on which there will never be full agreement--i.e phenomena; and there might be another "reality" which no one will ever know anything about--at least in this lifetime--i.e. Numenon.  It is this Numenon that we try to approach in prayer and contemplation.  To paraphrase Neils Bohr, we will never understand the Numenon until we totally  change our idea of what it means to "understand" something.  If this is what Vann meant by "wavelength." I guess I can agree with him.

If being able to change "wavelengths" means that people can simultaneously be mystics and Inquisitors or "compassionate conservatives"  maybe I should be glad I operate on only one "wavelength."
Tags: generic meditation issues
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