The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily – perhaps not possibly – chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation.*
I struggle to keep hold of all the meaningful words I have read in my ongoing journal so when I reread these from Eudora Welty I thought I’d “hide” them within this post.
They present us with the reality that we see things differently to how they are – a way of seeing that comes with the territory of having broken out of the circularity of life that others species are immersed in.
Some words I began with this morning are these from “The Teacher”:
The wind blows to the south, and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow. All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing.**
Allowing for what the Teacher didn’t know about how rainfall and oceans work, he has everything^ and yet is so mightily bored, only able to see everything and everyone with the same eyes. How different to what James Carse is imagining when he writes about the infinite traveller:
Genuine travel has no destination. Travellers do not go somewhere, but constantly discover they are somewhere else.^^
If we are such a traveller then we do not:
look on nature as a sequence of changing scenes but look on ourselves as persons in passage.^^
Carse has been putting forward an argument that everything is nature and so nature has no inside or outside, and so we cannot travel through it, instead:
All travel is therefore change within the traveller, and it is for that reason that travellers are always somewhere else. To travel is to grow.^^
Here is an end to the circularity that bores the Teacher so. He needs to see through more eyes:
The only true voyage would be not to travel through a hundred different lands with the same pair of eyes but to see the same land through a hundred different pairs of eyes.*^
Why be imprisoned into one way of seeing things when there are so many ways available to us?
I’ve removed and added some words from the following sentences of Carse so as to offer permission, a mandate for possibility:
look everywhere for differences, […]
see the earth as source, […]
celebrate the genius in others, […]
not [to be] prepared against but for surprise^^.
If Carse is correct and there is no inside and outside to nature then, because we are nature, there can be no inside or outside to you and me and we can become travellers who realise we’re not going somewhere but constantly discovering we are somewhere else, so:
May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To our usual eyes.^*
(*Eudora Welty, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: The Continuous Thread of Revelation … .)
(^It is thought that the Teacher is King Solomon.)
(^^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(*^Marcel Proust, quoted in James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(^*From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: For the Senses.)