27 Sep 2006

[From A Confession]

The foregoing was written by me some three years ago, and will be printed.

Now a few days ago, when revising it and returning to the line of thought and to the feelings I had when I was living through it all, I had a dream. This dream expressed in condensed form all that I had experienced and described, and I think therefore that, for those who have understood me, a description of this dream will refresh and elucidate and unify what has been set forth at such length in the foregoing pages. The dream was this:

I saw that I was lying on a bed. I was neither comfortable nor uncomfortable: I was lying on my back. But I began to consider how, and on what, I was lying – a question which had not till then occurred to me. And observing my bed, I saw I was lying on plaited string supports attached to its sides: my feet were resting on one such support, by calves on another, and my legs felt uncomfortable. I seemed to know that those supports were movable, and with a movement of my foot I pushed away the furthest of them at my feet – it seemed to me that it would be more comfortable so. But I pushed it away too far and wished to reach it again with my foot, and that movement caused the next support under my calves to slip away also, so that my legs hung in the air. I made a movement with my whole body to adjust myself, fully convinced that I could do so at once; but the movement caused the other supports under me to slip and to become entangled, and I saw that matters were going quite wrong: the whole of the lower part of my body slipped and hung down, though my feet did not reach the ground. I was holding on only by the upper part of my back, and not only did it become uncomfortable but I was even frightened. And then only did I ask myself about something that had not before occurred to me. I asked myself: Where am I and what am I lying on? and I began to look around and first of all to look down in the direction which my body was hanging and whither I felt I must soon fall. I looked down and did not believe my eyes. I was not only at a height comparable to the height of the highest towers or mountains, but at a height such as I could never have imagined.

I could not even make out whether I saw anything there below, in that bottomless abyss over which I was hanging and whither I was being drawn. My heart contracted, and I experienced horror. To look thither was terrible. If I looked thither I felt that I should at once slip from the last support and perish. And I did not look. But not to look was still worse, for I thought of what would happen to me directly I fell from the last support. And I felt that from fear I was losing my last supports, and that my back was slowly slipping lower and lower. Another moment and I should drop off. And then it occurred to me that this cannot be real. It is a dream. Wake up! I try to arouse myself but cannot do so. What am I to do? What am I to do? I ask myself, and look upwards. Above, there is also an infinite space. I look into the immensity of sky and try to forget about the immensity below, and I really do forget it. The immensity below repels and frightens me; the immensity above attracts and strengthens me. I am still supported above the abyss by the last supports that have not yet slipped from under me; I know that I am hanging, but I look only upwards and my fear passes. As happens in dreams, a voice says: “Notice this, this is it!” And I look more and more into the infinite above me and feel that I am becoming calm. I remember all that has happened, and remember how it all happened; how I moved my legs, how I hung down, how frightened I was, and how I was saved from fear by looking upwards. And I ask myself: Well, and now am I not hanging just the same? And I do not so much look round as experience with my whole body the point of support on which I am held. I see that I no longer hang as if about to fall, but am firmly held. I ask myself how I am held: I feel about, look round, and see that under me, under the middle of my body, there is one support, and that when I look upwards I lie on it in the position of securest balance, and that it alone gave me support before. And then, as happens in dreams, I imagined the mechanism by means of which I was held; a very natural intelligible, and sure means, though to one awake that mechanism has no sense. I was even surprised in my dream that I had not understood it sooner. It appeared that at my head there was a pillar, and the security of that slender pillar was undoubted though there was nothing to support it. From the pillar a loop hung very ingeniously and yet simply, and if one lay with the middle of one’s body in that loop and looked up, there could be no question of falling. This was all clear to me, and I was glad and tranquil. And it seemed as if someone said to me: “See that you remember.”

And I awoke.


– Leo Tolstoy

posted by John H. Doe @ 6:09 pm

25 Sep 2006

A little break, I think, from all this, while I’m here in Seoul, Korea. You know what they say: “Be excellent to each other. And party on, dude!”

posted by John H. Doe @ 9:38 am

22 Sep 2006

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

– The Beatles

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Robert Rauschenberg: Untitled

Click on the pic for a larger version.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

19 Sep 2006

Who cares? (This is not a rhetorical question.)

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

I have become a dream undreamt, a heart that never loved. My lamentation is not so tragic, it is all the more sadder how mundane it truly is. Who will cry for me, if I cannot even cry myself for myself? I wish perhaps some great suffering, if only to know that it be finite, and at the end to know that these “dues” everyone harps on have been paid in full; I have no hope for great joys. Or perhaps all of this is a passing fancy, and I am in truth happier than I let me in on — mayhap I am ready to spring some sort of surprise on myself? Truly, I am of two minds, half great, half pathetic, which blur together in some sort of muddled stew of consideration. So full of sound and fury? Signifying? No, let it not be so: let me raise a glass to ever glass that could not be raised, for the arm to cheer subsided into that good night. I have breath in me still: I can still dream that dream, my heart can love in some hopeless cause. Time has not done me in, quite yet.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

16 Sep 2006

I am invisible, at times, a shadow of what I could be. I move and you will not see me, a blurry face that makes no impression, a figure that could be anyone’s. I am less than everyman, for he has a voice, somewhere: I am that anonymous one who never had any quotes attributed to him, the masses distilled into one form, which is mindlessly cheering at some mass-produced event somewhere. And yet, there was always hope in me. That I could make of nothing something — not that I started with so little, but that I had made of it such waste, the potential squandered in a puddle of nebulous philosophies. One day, you may see me, when I have overcome myself, when I regain what I had before the innocence was lost, and shine like the child of God that I was meant to be. But whatever may be, let it never be said that I let it all run its course without that I tried. That I went without deciding to chart into the waters of a dream. Life seems to run out before one has finished tasting: thus any taste, let me savor.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

13 Sep 2006

Is it unfair to suggest that, in some of us at least, [Christianity] hasn’t fully worked so far simply because, at the pinch, at the decisive moment, we don’t want it to work or ourselves to be lifted up above the failings and disloyalties we find so alluring, but rather to be enabled to continue them without the ugly consequences of so doing, to have the inexorable laws of life bent aside in our favor, so that we can squeeze through and escape, without reaping what we have sown; because, as we misunderstand it, the whole point of the good news our Lord brings is the (to us) gladsome announcement that God is happily much more morally indifferent than our consciences had thought, and is not going to make a fuss about our sins and such-like trivial peccadilloes, but will surely let us off — because, in fact, we have not grasped that the core and essence of the Gospel… is its tremendous and glorious revelation of how deadly is God’s hatred of sin, so that He cannot stand having it in the same universe as Himself, and will go any length, and will pay any price, and will make any sacrifice, to master and abolish it, is set upon so doing in our hearts, thank God, as elsewhere.

– A. J. Gossip

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

what do i know of fire that never dies, of forever?
my passion fills a thimble in its much gathered totality
these instantaneous things i feel cast no shadow

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

10 Sep 2006

Night falls, a raven wing over the face of the whole sky.

Night falls, coolness that permeates the thickness of the air.

Night falls, and dreams await in the place of all wondering.

Night falls, and really, all it is is a shadow, a negative thing.

Night falls, the wolf in the distance howling at his hunt.

Night falls, and the rain washes away all my memories.

Night falls, nowhere am I to be found in the darkness.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

7 Sep 2006

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy.
There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be in time
It’s easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

– The Beatles

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes: The Poor Fisherman

Click on the pic for a larger version.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

5 Sep 2006

Look, up in the sky.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

We are made of the void, you and I, a conceit of physics, where from nothing all things are conceived. Movements of space-time, we are all of us merely ripples in the ether, which is itself only a concept. Many of us believe that we can never know the true particulars of all our particles; there are some, though, who just think we have not dug deep enough; myself, I will always believe that we hang upon uncertainty always, and the absolute ground of all things is not for man to comprehend. All our networks of knowing start at the middle and extend upward and downward in structure arbitrarily far, but anything like ultimate meaning is meant, I think, only for the infinite to grasp. We do remarkably well for living with such unknowns like we do; we take what we can get and make of the things around us that which will yield shape. We are the means by which the universe perceives itself, and perhaps we are not nothing, after all. True, we are not the I AM that needs not any other reason, but made in the image of such light, we ourselves can say to the darkness that let there be light be so, however feeble our light to be, and to see it comes that there was light, after all.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

3 Sep 2006

in a soft voice, we speak aloud what we believe
we think no one hears us, and we speak as though to a friend
the world passes by like nothing happened
the day goes to sleep and night stares at us blankly
there are no secrets if no one will care
mirrors have no memory of what we wanted to be
we ourselves forget that we had such words, that needed to be said
words that in our saying, proved that we existed
now, that time has moved us on to other places
we remember some things, and no one is the wiser
we know some things no one possibly would understand
we spoke of what it means to be alive

if the forgetting remembered, the reasons would be plain
how we understood so much, and did so little
because this is just a dream, and we never did say those things
and the world passes by like nothing happened
because for all this dreaming, nothing did

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

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