we are lived by powers we pretend to understand

Ivan Aivazovsky Between the Waves

Ivan Aivazovsky Between the Waves

We are lived by powers we pretend to understand.    – WH Auden

What IS Twitter? besides a pain in the ass, I mean. One thing that interests me is the tidal nature of it. Trending. You can watch an event or opinion or an idea wash through the dominoes, a huge set up of thousands of tilting falling domino configurations. When Marco Polo carried his memes from China to Europe, it took decades, even centuries, for the cascade.  Now we can track it in seconds, hours, days. I like patterns, dynamic patterns. The content of Twitter?  Meh.

But the waves have a beauty. The content of these waves are the sea we live in. You take it into your body-mind, imagining that the substance won’t infect/nourish you. But it does. Every stupid piece of crap that comes before us is one more fluid drop washing right into our bodies. Compost and manure are important, vital to growth and health. This isn’t a plea for purity.

It is a plea for humility. We live inside the fantasy that we make rational choices, that we know what we are doing. This is a mythology that is at the center of modernity, that science-wracked, bureaucracy-ridden, war-driven zeitgeist that is our time. The fact that we do not exactly make rational choices is no reason to abandon rationality. Thank God for any attempt.

It is to say that things are rarely, if ever, what they seem. The forces acting on us are too big to see, too small to see, too camouflaged to see. If we attempt to raise our children in an atmosphere of decency, moral struggle, imaginative empathy, creative joy, they will build their bodies (minds) out of that. That will be the sea, or a part of the content of the sea, that will nourish them. Direct action is an illusion. Creating indirect environmental goodness and beauty is endless, exhausting, miraculous work.  And the only way. We do not control the tides.

No one can flatter himself that he is immune to the spirit of his own epoch, or even that he possesses a full understanding of it. Irrespective of our conscious convictions, each one of us, without exception, being a particle of the general mass, is somewhere attached to, colored by, or even undermined by the spirit which goes through the mass. Freedom stretches only as far as the limits of our consciousness.  –  Carl Jung

Not for a moment dare we succumb to the illusion that an archetype can be finally explained and disposed of. Even the best attempts at explanation are only more or less successful translations into another metaphorical language. .. The most we can do is dream the myth onwards and give it a modern dress.               –  Carl Jung

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