“…but bear in mind that the word is not the thing, and that the description, however detailed, however intricate, however well-reasoned out and beautiful, is not the thing described.”. –Krishnamurti, You Are The World
Yes, but the weekend was over and I was casting about in vain for the essence of a post. With what little time available over the previous days I had pushed hard to finish the biography of Steve Jobs I had recently downloaded. It was a fascinating tale, Jobs unquestionably a compelling figure who has contributed so much to the way we do things, technologically speaking at any rate.
I had already dedicated a post to the man, titled Hardwired For Heroes. Though truth be told it wasn’t really about Jobs at all but about our human need–our craving–for heroes. I forget whether or not I mentioned Joseph Campbell’s seminal book The Hero With A Thousand Faces, but it was on my mind as I wrote.
So as I said, I was casting about for a post. The Jobs book was enjoyable, but not conducive to the sort of inward reflection that dredges up a post from depths I rarely plumb without serious time on my own or at the Cafe.
Which brings to mind reservations or criticisms Xenon directs at the prevailing mode of our educational system.
“The problem with school,” he has said, and I’m writing this down to the best of my memory, “…as it is constituted today is that no one has the time to reflect and genuinely draw from their experience before writing an essay or taking sides in a debate. What we end up with are consummate reasoners writing superbly polished prose amounting to absolutely nothing. That’s great for politicians and lawyers, but what has happened to Truth?”
Still at loose ends post-wise, I arrived home from work yesterday to find a package in the mailbox. It was a fairly rare copy of Elie Faure’s The Dance Over Fire And Water I had ordered online from somewhere in New Jersey. Once more, because sometimes the mere title of a book sings a hymn: The Dance Over Fire And Water. Even more poetic than The Spirit Of The Forms which I’ve quoted from once or twice.
I eagerly ripped open the cardboard envelope and cracked the spine.
Sit, cultivate quiet, and listen. This from page one:
“There is no history for a people, as there is no personality for a man, unless he consents to inflict upon the stone, the sound, the word, or the bold adventurous action, the form of that lyric reality which he discovers in the universe.” –Elie Faure, The Dance Over Fire And Water
Is that a book or a man channeling the music of the spheres? It is uncanny, otherworldly. And as such high up in the pantheon of Great Spirits here at the Omphalos Cafe.
However, and this is crucial, what has it to do with our world here and now?
Forgive me, but two last quotes:
“When art declines under the blows of criticism or under the weight of fatigue, science, assuming the upper hand, drags to its ruin the previously imagined social poem.” –Elie Faure, The Spirit Of The Forms
“Everything becomes poetry again as soon as knowledge, after having saturated the mind, is obliged to appeal once more to the synthetic intuition to break the rigid circle every system is fated to create when it exhausts its virtue.” –Elie Faure, The Spirit Of The Forms
Reading Elie Faure puts me in a place I like to be. There is something–a little bit in any case–of the Steve Jobs story in the above quotes, along with so much more. They resonate, setting off something inside which I then struggle to express. They are not closed systems as so much writing tends to be, but are open out the back for us to explore should we succeed in finding the time.
It’s Poetry, and where are we to find that these days?
At the risk of being tedious,
Life is ALL there is.