Thursday, January 24, 2013

"No Logical Chain..."

“Man thought and still thinks in images. But now our images have hardly and any emotional value. We always want a "conclusion," an end, we always want to come, in our mental processes, to a decision, a finality, a full stop. This gives us a sense of satisfaction. All our mental consciousness is a movement onwards, a movement in stages, like our sentences, and every full-stop is a milestone that marks our "progress" and our arrival somewhere. On and on we go, for the mental consciousness. Whereas of course there is no goal. Consciousness is an end in itself. We torture ourselves getting somewhere, and when we get there it is nowhere, for there is nowhere to get to. While men still thought of the heart or the liver as a seat of consciousness, they had no idea of this on-and-on process of thought. To them a thought was a completed state of feeling-awareness, a cumulative thing, a deepening thing, in which feeling deepened into feeling in consciousness till there was a sense of fullness. A completed thought was the plumbing of a depth like a whirlpool, of emotional awareness, and at the depth of this whirlpool of emotion and resolve formed. But it was no state in a journey. There was no logical chain to be dragged further. This should help us to appreciate that the oracles were not supposed to say something that fitted plainly in the whole chain of circumstances. They were supposed to deliver a set of images or symbols of the real dynamic value, which should set the emotional consciousness of the enquirer, as he pondered them, revolving more and more rapidly, till out of a state of intense emotional absorption the resolve at last formed; or, as we say, the decision was arrived at. As a matter of fact, we do very much the same thing in a crisis. When anything very important is to be decided we withdraw and ponder and ponder until the deep emotions are set working and revolving together, revolving, revolving, till a centre is formed and we "know what to do." And the fact that no politician today has the courage to follow this intensive method of "thought" is the reason of the absolute paucity of the political mind today."
- D.H. Lawrence, “The Apocalypse”
Hat tip to Alex Noble for this material.

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