If it were possible to achieve objectivity for a space…
We could reflect on what it might mean for man.
Yet, even the most spotless surface,
would only hold its image reversed.
And since we have now out grown
the perfect symmetry
of our own form…
that we might come
to yearn our other halves…
The halves we thought we knew
when sumberged as subject.
Like serfs striving to serve an ideal…
We could not help but see ourselves exposed.
But would such exposure lead to selflessness?
Our experiences in dream, if often enough repeated,
become as much a part of the fabric of the soul
as our waking experiences.
The man who regularly flies in his dreams
will be initmate with the nuances of flight.
His soul will know how to ‘skit’ and ‘scurry’
and ‘dip’ and ‘bob’ but also how to ‘soar’…
His rising will lack tension or constraint.
His descent will be without gravity.
Would such a man not look askance
at some of our concepts in the waking hours?
His notions of ‘contentment’ may hop, skip and jump
a little more than our own, and be a bit more ‘airborne’…
And would the poets flight of fancy not seem
to him somewhat ponderous and earth bound?
The man who has plotted the course of science
will have discovered in its development
the key which unlocks the doors to knowledge and understanding.
Both portals have fictitious hinges and hypothetical handles.
By stepping beyond their frame our senses become subtle.
The eye reacts to ‘the new’ by immediately reproducing ‘the familiar’ as if in counter-point…
In this way can that which is ‘alien’ move secretly amongst us.
…The novel sound initially causes so much pain to the ear
that we even seek to model a foreign tongue
on our own meanings…
“Wie spate ist es?”
“What is the time?”
As if time were a mere matter of counting.
Yet, how many hours have come and gone
since the ‘beginning’ of time?
…To be involved in exceptional experiences, therefore,
is to become, in part, their inventor.
In this our art knows no bounds.
Pity the man who sees too deeply
for he alone knows the terrible secret of superficiality.
It is self-preservation that demands we be fickle, and false, and frivolous.
Anybody dependant upon this ‘sorbet of surfaces’ to any extent
must at one time have tried and failed to penetrate beneath it.
Yet to find pleasure in falsifying life’s image,
precisely to the degree in which their own world was spoiled,
can be regarded as the mark of an artist.
And perhaps it is only artists that can dress man
in colour, and light, and goodness
so that we no longer have to suffer
at the unadorned sight of ourselves.
Pious people generally are unaware
how much latitude is necessary for
a scholar to take the religious problem seriously.
It is only by viewing the question historically
that it seems to make any sense at all.
But even then our scholar stands no nearer piety.
Every age possesses its signature niavety
of which all other ages are envious.
How charming the notion that a pious man
be surpassed by the scholar,
by that presumptious half-man,
inventor and High-Priest of ‘modern ideas’!
Does the religious life require leisure,
or the idleness of the leisured class?
Certainly, those classes have always held work to be degrading.
It is easy to see why.
Modern labour, predominantly indoors and sedentary can educate one into disbelief.
The past two-hundred years have shown us how work in heavy industry
is wont to render refinements of the soul redundant.
A generation or two after any revolution of this sort
and the very term ‘religion’ elicits only a dull, uncomprehending stare.
But could there be a correlation between religious sentiment and the natural life?
Most traditional deities slot seamlessly into the seasonal round.
And work in this realm serves to remind one of the greater cycles that govern existence.
One of which, it may be argued, is… religion.
With what gusto the horizons of our world expand.
Our enthusiasm grasps at each new enigma like a child its toy.
Perhaps one day the most solemn problems of the past
will appear as mere playthings to us…
The plight of the poor.
Our treatment of animal species.
Man’s inhumanity to man.
Perhaps ‘Old Man’ will then look for new problems to amuse himself.
To gaze with eastern eyes
Into the abyss of pessimism
Is to emerge
On the other side of life
And to wander for a time, agape,
In the antipodes…
Here, we take in anathema
As though it were nectar
Or some other more exotic god-food.
This new lust for life leads to…
An insatiability for all that was, and is, and will be…
To the extent that no other outcome of events is conceivable or desirable.
In fact, it leads…
to an Endless Round.
If we want a yardstick,
for how far we have travelled from our Gods…
We need only consider the once widespread custom
of sacrificing a first-born child…
It hardly seems credible from this vantage,
irrespective of its counter productivity in an era of high infant-mortality.
What can these religions have been thinking?
That God was greater than mankind?
With the advent of the Peripatetic Philosophers and their schools,
where students could learn to aspire,
to all that is good in life,
and the roaring success of these ventures,
came, inevitably, another sort of instruction,
one based solely on false promises,
and mutual ‘appreciation’,
In short, on rhetoric, or hot air…
very expensive hot air.
First, one yawns…
Then, one becomes drowsy…
And finally, one falls asleep.