“The intellect is characterized by a natural inability to comprehend life.”—Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
Had occasion to stroll a University campus last week. Loved it, couldn’t stop smiling; the youth, the freshness, the air of learning (no matter how misguided). I was picking up my nine year old son from yet another summer camp.
How long ago now did I live that illusion? 30 years!
Never graduated. Finished three years of sciences, engineering in fact, and then, bored, began reading all manner of book before starting my fourth and final year. That was it. At mid-term rather than solve an exam’s problems I wrote an essay on why I didn’t want to be an engineer. Soon after I was done.
Around that time, fired by all the reading I was doing, I began a journal. On the first page I wrote “Won’t listen to anyone else anymore, will only read and learn what I want.” Those pages are long gone. Juvenile stuff, but inspired all the same.
Two years later, muddle-headed with reading, I returned to University, in the so-called Liberal Arts. Utter waste of time, and frustrating to boot. By that time I had made it past Henry Miller, to such lights as Dostoyevsky, Spengler, and Elie Faure.
“History, religion, civilization, the conquest of the universe by man, his pathetic creation of God, all this is nothing but poetry—….”—Elie Faure, The Spirit Of The Forms
“Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life.”—Henry Miller, Wisdom Of The Heart
Wrong books, wrong tack for school. Couldn’t, wouldn’t knuckle under and parrot back the bilge they wanted. Plus, the wrong-headedness and general aimlessness that Life-truth-seeking evinced got me nowhere with all the beautiful, sexy young women in class. Wise on their part, no doubt, but there was loneliness and frustration on mine.
Best experience it on my own. And that was it for University.
Years pass. I look back now, walk the campus with a smile on my face.
Life is miraculous.
I have no degrees for my learning labours. There are no degrees, no diplomas. But I have graduated all the same. I am free and happy and tasked with something I will spend my remaining years with.
There are fact truths and there are Living, Poetic truths. School as constituted today excels at the former; who speaks for the latter? True, voices all around us do, but who is bringing them together into a coherent whole? Where is the genuine wholistic truth?
Here, at the Omphalos Cafe, that’s where.
If you’ve strayed here and gotten this far…