Wednesday, June 17, 2009

bottoms up

My son's new predilection, scouring tree pits and parkland for bottlecaps, in this case overlaps with my enthusiasm for anchors. Because I need one. I enjoy the fact that in this image the rope winds around the central line like the snakes on the staff of Asclepius.

I recently came across this passage from Marcus Aurelius floating at the top of a blog and was once again struck by the power of the depth of his wisdom. It stills my mind. I read it like medicine. Especially the line where he regards the wholeness of the daemon.

“Of human life the time is a point, and the substance is in a flux, and the perception dull, and the composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of judgement. And, to say all in a word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and vapour, and life is a warfare and a stranger’s sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion. What then is that which is able to conduct a man? One thing and only one, philosophy. But this consists in keeping the daemon within a man free from violence and unharmed, superior to pains and pleasures, doing nothing without purpose, nor yet falsely and with hypocrisy, not feeling the need of another man’s doing or not doing anything; and besides, accepting all that happens, and all that is allotted, as coming from thence, wherever it is, from whence he himself came; and, finally, waiting for death with a cheerful mind, as being nothing else than a dissolution of the elements of which every living being is compounded. But if there is no harm to the elements themselves in each continually changing into another, why should a man have any apprehension about the change and dissolution of all the elements? For it is according to nature, and nothing is evil which is according to nature. “

I never know where the staff will turn up, but am so glad when it turns my head.


Kenmeer livermaile said...

"...nothing is evil which is according to nature."

A tricky phrase, that. One can easily miss the import of "according to nature" and miss the meaning of "nothing is (insert quality x here) but thinking makes it so."

Otherwise, one easily succumbs to Rousseauesque ('ooh! I speak French!') nature worship, and then either separates oneself from nature, which is extreme absurdity, or believes that nothing is evil, which is perhaps as evil a notion as exists, for we are that which thinks such a notion, and we have and will commit evil in our lives.

Whatever evil may be. Icky things we don't like and wish never happened, I suppose.

Today's password is: subhm, which reads like Sanskrit shorthand for, um, sompn or another?

Things that make you go 'subhm'...

amarilla said...

Paracelsus, "The dose makes the poison."

Kenmeer livermaile said...

I had to google Paracelsus. You are rapidly exhausting my list of Greek and Roman heavy dude names, especially those from 15th century Switzerland.

The Internet is delightful. Imagine, 30 years ago, corduroy-and-pipe types at a Cambridge pub holding discussing things about which they know just enough to engage a topic and then relying on an Encyclopaeida Brittanica.

That is internet palaver in post-time with a google backdrop.

BTW, I have decided you are my very fave photog. Not that I'm anything close to a connoisseur. I barely know Ansel Adams from Mann Ray. But I know what I like and your blog has yet to show me a photo that wasn't at least very beautiful but, more often, subliminally intriguing.

So, wanna be friends dog that I am, I wander in, treading muddy paw prints all over your nice clean kitchen floor, and drop this in your lap as a form of gify=t, Something I wrote the other day as a scrap note for the bloody novel in progress:

Not the religion of the revivalists and whatever passes these days for Bible-thumpong, but the religion of a thousand early morning apartment terraces. Norwegian diffidence, Southern apoplexy, Shinto shriners, Congolese fervor.

A movie named itself The 5th Element and reached the same old conclusion: love is the answer.

The question is: does anyone care about me out there? When the house is alseep and even the dog wants to be left alone, we turn to the heavens and ask: does anyone care out there?

That's the question, and the only smart thing to project as an answer is: YES. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask not what your God can do for you but what you can do for your God, because the chances are very good that He is an inflation of your making, and without your hope, He is hopeless.

Be kind to the voices inside your head. Be respectful of your conversations with yourself, even if they're just you talking to a mental sockpuppet of someone you know. We don't know how to talk to ourselves any more than a microphone can tap a lecturer and ask if it's turned on.

password: ambleg

Almost a portmanteau, that one.

amarilla said...

Almost a Portmanteau: My Life Story.

Thanks kindly for your complements on the photography.

I like the bit about the microphone, and the dependent God very much. Compelling material.

Kenmeer livermaile said...

I'll pass the word on to the dependent God. I'm sure She'll appreciate it; my wife likes praise as much as anyone.

password: stshe

Unspeakably vile curse term from NE Siberia.