Friday, October 28, 2005


So, I just posted (basically) this to the nontheist Friends listserv:

I have often thought that words kill the spirit of things.

It's similar to religions where people believe that having a photo taken steals (or kills?) your soul.

Life, and what I would sometimes call "the divine" is in constant motion, bigger and smaller and simply differnt than we can imagine, and then shifting into something else before our minds can possibly focus on it.

Photographs freeze an image - it doesn't move, it doesn't change, and they only capture part - I was smiling, I was wearing blue, my hair was a mess - but they leave behind the image from differnt angles, were you hot or cold? who took the picture? what were you doing 5 minutes before.

They reduce the experience to what they can capture, and often we forget, lose trackof, other elements of the experience (though sometimes we don't)I experience words much the same way.

In fact, I think it's a major reason that codified religion doesn't work for me (and why I was drawn to quakerism) - Once you say, "well, you know, that thing that you can't name, when you feel sorta...., and, you know- well, that thing is called Jesus (or insert icon here)"- you kill it. You don't facillitate deep knowing by attaching a static word, you curb it.

This is tied into the whole "do animals have souls?" question. (I'm not sure I would say that I have what most people have a soul - but if I have a spark of the light of the divine, I am one that believes that nonhuman animals have it too) - and came up in response to a posting that I read as saying essentially that we don't experience things if we can't name them.

Which seems really alien to me. Like, if a small child, or a dog, touches a hot stove and has the pain, the adrenaline rush, the instintive recoiling, involved with that, but lacks the facility to form the concept "wow, that was hot" - they missed out on the essential in that experience?

That is not what my life is like. In fact, for me, remembering that pain is more "real" than having the "I touched a hot stove once" memory filed somewhere.

I felt really "in love" once (more words that mean so many things to so many people) It ended badly over a year ago. Recently I have felt numb around the whole thing (part of the healing?) and only remembered the words "I was in love with her" - and I was confused, what kept me there? what did I think was love when it ended so badly, when I so clearly wasn't loved in return? I remembered the story that I had written on my memory with the word "love" - but it didn't make any sense to me.

I dreamt of her the other night. I felt the feeling, in my body and my soul again. And I knew "what the big deal" was. It was something real, at least to me, something deeper and more whole and amazing than any words can describe. I don't want her back, because I also remember (In my body, and in words) the pain, the horror of it all, but I remember love, not as a word, but as a state of being, and it itself is good.

I don't think that really helped clarify. sigh.

It's so funny to try to clarify the inadequacy of words using words.

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