The weekend. On Saturday, I experienced a moment of clarity (a heightening of awareness) when several issues, which I’m working through currently, presented themselves in terms of incipient resolutions, for the first time. In order to embody my response to the unfolding ‘revelation’, I wrote notes to myself that variously mapped thoughts; discerned principles; conceived of, what for me were, radically alternative ways of thinking; and sketched plans. In essence, I became conscious of a necessity to, at the outset, position myself outside of my life – to look in upon it, rather than out from it (as I do at present; as I’ve always done).
Quite how this reorientation will be achieved has no definition presently. I’m not surprised; what I envisage is a substantial overhaul – the mental and spiritual equivalent of moving house. Of one thing I’m sure: the Diary requires a termination point. This is the 824th post. Its 1000th will be the last. By then, I’ll have written as many words as there are contained within seven Humanities PhD theses. That’s enough. The new perspective will require a different mode of rumination. I know not what. No doubt there’ll be other aspects of my life which will be either cast off or replaced in the process.
On Sunday, I lead the morning’s intercessions [click on arrow, top right] at Holy Trinity Church:
Today. Last night, as I fell asleep, I saw inside my eyes (this appeared to be an unusual optical phenomenon) an ill-defined fluorescent lime ring, exactly like a donut-shaped nebula. Around it were free-floating and irregular monochrome shapes bearing abstract linear patterns. I remembered that, during my early years battling with ME, I sometimes saw in the darkness of my bedroom three-dimensional geometries with primary coloured facets, slowly rotating.
And, in a ‘dream’ on the boundaries of sleep, I alighted upon a poem called ‘O Jericho’. I recall only its sense. A people were divided by a wall that they’d to set up by mutual agreement. It stretched to the left and to the right as far as they eye could see. As the weeks, months, and years rolled on, it grew taller and thicker – more formidable, impenetrable, and unassailable. Every so often, the patrol guards manning the checkpoints were doubled and then redoubled. But no one knew why. Eventually, the people forgot why they’d built the wall. Was it to keep them in or the others out? And was there, any longer, anyone on the other side?:
‘The Fall of the Walls of Jericho’, Dalziel’s Bible Gallery (1881) (courtesy of WikiCommons)
9.00 am: I attended to my timetable for the weeks ahead and some of the weekend’s incoming emails. Then, it was on with preparations for a paper on the ‘I. Nothing. Lack.’ project. As is my habit, I began with the design of the PowerPoint (the container). Once I’ve established the lecture’s graphic sensibility, other things follow. The event poster was my point of departure:
Mid afternoon, I was in a position (while still batting away incoming emails) to begin writing the conference paper proper. I paced myself through a disciplined pattern of work, with short periods of rest in between. There are times when my body went cold and I began shivering, regardless of the ambient room temperature. I feel as though I could sleep for a week.
In the evening, I did battle with the university’s dippy research database before conceding defeat and returning to my conference paper.
Some hard realities and difficult resolutions:
- Do what’s good rather than what feels good. They may not be the same thing.
- It’s a mistake to confuse what’s natural with what’s right. Our natures are imperfect.
- To my mind, I don’t have the right to be either fulfilled or happy. If these rights are enshrined somewhere, then I relinquish them. But I do have an obligation to help others to realise those conditions.
- If you make a wrong turn, don’t reverse. Rather, carry on until you reach the next junction and re-join the right road there.
- Not all betrayals can be healed; the evidence, patience, and time required to re-establish integrity and trust can be too enormous.
- New words offer new possibilities, ways of thinking, prospects, and connections.
- Sometimes intuitions become evident long after an event. Likewise, instincts are not necessarily formed in the moment.
- One must cast off in order to either take on something new or else take back what was cast off, at a later date.
- It’s possible to live without hope in relation to specific aspects of life, but not in relation to life as a whole.
- In the absence of physical proximity (‘real presence’, to adapt George Steiner’s term), our sense of reality becomes increasingly unreliable, unverifiable, and liable to be fictionalised.
- Some situations are too volatile and hazardous to engage in comfortably and confidently, whatever the benefits and possibilities they may seem to offer.
- Some problems require solutions that are constantly contingent, flexible, adaptive, mutable, and under consideration.