Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Reruns: God's Big Flashlight in the Sky

(original post-date: March 23, 2011)

It was extremely overcast in Los Angeles last weekend, so I was not able to see the Super Full Moon.

But I liked the idea of it, particularly given the current state of the world.

That Moon, brighter and bigger than usual, had a lot to shine on.

In Japan.

In Libya.

Where you are.

Where I am.

It’s impossible to address the current state of the world in one short essay. There are the actions of nature, which can be blamed on no one. There are the dangers of cultivating nuclear energy, which reflect taking calculated risks in an effort to meet the world’s complex needs. There is the chain reaction of unprecedented activism throughout the Middle East and North Africa – a man-made tsunami of social discontent.

… When I was in my 20’s, a boyfriend introduced me to the writings of Henry Miller, and I quickly devoured Tropic of Capricorn and Sexus. I used to joke that I’d read Miller with a dictionary in one hand and a vibrator in the other. Seriously – his erotic passages were as raw as they get. But that wasn’t the content that kept me reading. Miller’s writing climbs to amazing levels, eloquently reflecting his keen sense of the metaphysical, his passion for life and living, and his acknowledgment that the world is a precarious place, making every moment all the more valuable.

I have many favorite passages from both of those books, but the one that has remained in my head is this one, from Sexus:

Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything God-like about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.

… I find the concept of God fascinating. I am, as they say on match dot com, “spiritual but not religious.” In fact, I’m so spiritual that I haven’t even told me what I believe. Bottom line is that I am utterly humbled by what I know for sure, and that is this: we’re all living on a big round thing that’s spinning so fast we don’t fall off.

Talk about imagination! Talk about daring! Anyway, acknowledging that little bit of proved science is pretty much all I can handle. If I think about it for more than a few minutes, I have to lie down.

And these days, it seems that this big round thing we’re all living on is really pissed off.

I don’t blame it.

And populations around the globe are upset by their societal circumstances.

I don’t blame them either.

Part of me thinks it’s damned remarkable we’ve come this far.

… I decided to dig into my old copy of Sexus to see what preceded that line that’s stayed with me. Interesting. Among other things, I love what it says about personal power:

The prisoner is not the one who has committed a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over. We are all guilty of crime, the great crime of not living life to the full. But we are all potentially free. We can stop thinking of what we have failed to do and do whatever lies within our power. What these powers that are in us may be no one has truly dared to imagine. That they are infinite we will realize the day we admit to ourselves that imagination is everything. Imagination is the voice of daring…

Yes, the powers within us are infinite, but only as long as we are alive.

That’s the catch; life is finite.

What we owe to the creative, imaginative, daring force that put us here is this: to embrace the blessing of every moment; to pursue our dreams; to do what is good.

That’s all we’ve got time for.


Claire Hennessy said...

Wow, I love this post. And what wisdom from Miller. Another author I have yet to read. I agree - we are as limited as our imagination (and our beliefs). I heard a great thing on the radio the other day: Just because we're living, doesn't mean we're alive. How true.

shelly said...

What a profound post!

Anonymous said...

As a child I was sure I had been born knowing everything but had forgotten more and more as I grew. Once I realised that, I began to learn. A profound child in many ways, I resolved to live life as though I meant it. This post is right up my street Katie. Thank you :-)

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