This posting is about understanding understanding , which for most people is easy enough – they simply don’t do it. I composed a little ditty about this:
They know what they know,
what they know, what they know.
And they don’t want to know
Got it? If you answered “Yes,” you probably didn’t. And I will have to refer you to this essay in Poetry Magazine:
This is not an easy read, I have spent days on it. But gradually a message came through.
The process was like watching my father develop a picture. He took what looked like a plain, heavy white sheet of paper and exposed it to the light from an image. Then slid it carefully into a bath of developer solution, and massaged it gently in the solution. (A professional photographer always had the fingernails of one hand stained brown (a light brown at the tips to a dark brown closer in from immersion in the developer solution.)
I would always watch in amazement as the image began to appear on the paper. This part of the process required skill – knowing how long to leave the paper in the solution – a skill my father did not want to teach me. I could only be trusted with running the prints through the hypo – which removed the parts of the image which had not been developed.
The darkroom was Dad’s favorite place in the world – where he could get away from people and work his magic in peace. I inherited this from him – only I do my work with words on a computer – another form of magic.
There seems to be two kinds of writing: rational and emotional. In reality, the two cannot be separated, but this is a useful generalization. In his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman makes a very good case for the rational kind. He (along with McLuhan) believed that Television destroyed our ability to think. I agree, and take it further – the computer has finished the job and produced people who are no longer people – something I have said over and over.
I am also reading The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt, which is doing an excellent job of explaining how the intellect and the emotions interact. I won’t be giving anything away by revealing that the battleground here is in the Collective Unconscious. Something that scientists like him consider obvious – but most people deny completely.
As you can see, I do lot of reading – but that is something I can do, socially isolated as I am – but with a solid connection to Amazon and and the Internet.
Most people down here, Gringos on the run, desperately do not want to be understood. And they can create enough smoke and mirrors to confuse anyone – including themselves.If they can succeed at this, they consider themselves to be a success.
Their tombstone could read:
Here lies xx, a person who never lived.
Miracles will never cease, glory to God!