Thursday, October 30, 2008

These are a series of questions...

Nothing more (perhaps?) and certainly nothing less:

What is the difference between poetry and prose? How thick is the boundary between what we exert to know and what we dare to risk? Can we quantify the amount of chance or humility mustered in either situation? Is there a difference between feeling and thinking? Is our brain or our heart the most resilient? The most agile? The most vulnerable?

When do we draw the line between what is imagined and what is real? When does reality end, imagination begin? Do I know what you imagine? Can you see it? Can you hear it? Can you touch it? Can I? Do you ever really feel what I dream? Is it just a story? When you tell me your tales, do you hope I inhabit them? Do I act them out as script or live them in all of their peculiar, unexpected circumstances?

Is abstraction a shield? An impenetrable, esoteric cloud that, in its radiant, hovering mist, shelters and ensures that any other is never really, truly able to understand? Do we protect ourselves, in a very conscious and active practice, by giving up what we, and only we, can understand? In the active donation of what we hold to be most sacred, intimate, secret are we subconsciously offering only the fringes of a rope (to never be grasped?) that might allow another (if deemed worthy) the ability to climb inside the Rapunzel’s tower of our soul? What warrants or permits this entry? How much do we value those that are able to scale these heights? Do we want anyone to join us? Are we obligated to host a gathering?

Are there things that are always legible to everyone? Do we endeavour to keep things illegible in order to protect a certain mystique? Does this mystique legitimize what we do? Does every object, word, maintain a degree of meaning inaccessible to anyone but the one who has created it? Does meaning exist anywhere in the absence of context? How do we nurture, cultivate, share meaning?

Is what we claim as our expertise the product of a beautiful, fragile, infinitely momentous train of creativity? Or do we tell ourselves stories (maybe fiction) about how much (through tested inquiry) we know better about the everyday? Are our senses heightened, refined more than the next person? Or have those of others merely dulled? Is it in awe, in touch, in sight, in feeling, in empathy, in advocacy, the way in which we hope to connect with others? Are we priests or politicians? Are we in the practice or serving or providing a service? To whom?

When I write, am I acting? Am I giving? Is the word any more or less material than the stone? Is time or mass the measure through which I am able to distinguish between what I produce and what I ingest? Where do I place myself in the cycle of give and take? Where do we place ourselves?

Comment as you see fit.


avi said...


I hear answers suggested behind your questions. I would love to hear them. Of course to say them would to be choosing vulnerability. I hope ultimately that we all choose vulnerability over security. Venturing out rather than holding back. Offering our strange gifts rather than questioning other's. It is in vulnerability that makes possible the overfullness of life which I have come to admire in all its forms: the tears, the creative, the love and despair. And no, I don't believe we will never be able to share this overfulness of life. No one shall ever enter another's Rapunzel tower. We are relagated to come only as close to each other as two lovers on opposite sides of a pane of glass (the pain of glass). We cannot share our experience. We are cursed to inhabit the in between. Just as we inhabit the space between the structure so too does language keep us in the inbetween. The words we offer float in the ether, meaningless, until they are heard by another mind and reconfigured. But how tantalizing (so close to the fruits we shall never taste) how beautiful the inbetween can be. Maybe our only hope is to attempt to universalize. To make the me situation into a we situation. We shall never welcome another into our tower but I certainly love hearing others muse of the view from their own tower, strange as it might be.
Choose vulnerability Ben. End a sentence with a period.

damir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chelsea said...

lawyers use a strategy in the courtroom that poses a series of rapid questions, all of which they know the answers, culminating in a question and answer that derives a certain truth, perhaps reveals something previously hidden,exposes something less evident or unknown to all, a circumstance, an event, a thought.
a series of questions, each profound, searching for some essence, results not in the search for individual answers but, in fact, a state of self-reflection, what are the questions i ask. what question would i ask now. a question is not a statement in the grammatical, structural, fact that it lacks a period. a question is not a statement in that it (supposedly) lacks an answer.
Rapunzel was placed in the tower as a prisoner, the prince could enter upon her invitation. the strength of her invitation was only as good as the strength and length of her hair.
Truthfulness and authenticity are not the same.
Statements and questions are as transparent as the correct spelling of words.

avi said...

ohhh touche and touch yourself. Did you just take a shot at me for spelleng?

I didn't get the meaning of your extension of the Rapunzel metaphor. Please elaborate. Also what is the distinction between truthfulness and authenticity you are drawing? True to your own composition...authenticity, no?

I couldn't agree more that good questions are always more valuable and instructive then answers. I don't know why my sparring nature came out. I think it was just that bit about abstraction being a shield. It sounded like a shot. But in response I think abstraction is all to often a shield. Nietzsche said something like those who believe they lack profoundity strive for obscurity those who are profound strive for clarity. Abstraction can serve both.

Best to you both...