Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Looking For Answers

Imagine looking for answers like Galileo did, aware as he must have been that there were people in the world so sure of the answers they had already that they were not looking for more. Imagine looking for answers in a place and time when if you find answers, others will refuse you and your effort. They will condemn you if you actually find enough leverage somehow and refuse to go away. They may kill you for your answers, should you actually find them. Imagine this is such a time. Trust me, this is such a time, if you seek answers in the wrong places, just like always.

Looking For Answers

You all say today
I know nothing, that's the start.
I look for other
opinions, maybe
I can know something, but that's
just my vanity.

I'm just a small stump
in the forest, timidly
putting out a shoot,
looking for answers
in the gray grassy daylight
of my tiny glade.

March 4, 2009 8:54 AM


  1. Yeah...me too. Just a curling tendril.....:)

  2. Christopher, then how does one find answers for real? I am there today, wondering, needing. I'm doubting today, that I have the ability to find the truth. Or perhaps there is no one truth? Are there many? And so we intercept interference? Or is the truth something, that when it isn't pleasant, we turn from and create other kinds of twisted tendrils against?

    Looking for answers can be terribly exhausing, can't it? Perhaps I shouldn't look, but instead let the answers find me? But will I recognize them when they to my door? Will they a name a tag? Oh please, tell me they will wear a name tag.

    Sometimes your poems come at the perfect-ist and difficult-est times.

    But today it snows in the form of a storm, and yet it is still beautiful.


  3. You are right it is the same than before, those things do not change sadly, but I still would like to be like Galileo, or even a real tragic hero like turing
    Interesting post

  4. I feel that way. And I don't think it's simply paranoia. And I don't know what to think about what I see, it only looks like a mess from here, and I may have opinionated once, but now I'm just confused as hell. I love your poem, and it's to that forest that I retreat and find what is real about what is right in front of me. Good to see you Christopher! I have a new blog. I was off for a time noveling and building the new site, but I'm back!

  5. You are all on the same page...

    Wow! I have lived with this stuff for so long that the passion is out of it for me in some ways. I wrote the poem of complaint from one viewpoint, or of acceptance from another, of the situation as it is.

    It is clear that much of the world we live in, even all of it when you change scales far enough from our own viewpoint, is not made to help us understand. We are indeed strangers in a strange land. Instead we have to see past ourselves in ways and with a set of disciplines. We call this being objective, looking at (that) in ways which minimize (us).

    In many ways it matches the discipline that artists use, something I call the artist's eye. We have learned it there too. If you want to present the world of three dimensions (and more) on a two dimensional canvas, you have to find a discipline of presentation that is accurate (perspective now but in earlier times elevation) and then get your tendency to interpret from meaning out of the way of the lines and shades that are really there.

    Boil this down. There is not only looking at the real world, but there is a discipline of mind and heart to do it.

    If you want to "find the answers" you have to accept the conditions.

    The oldest path we have taken is the path through metaphor to God. This path has us be receptive and work totally on ourselves to become the excellent receptors of God that we can be. Then we wait on God to complete the bargain. The answers that come are personal and sometimes are codified and made dogmatic so that others may follow or accept and live. This oldest path is older than history and in the best cases involves the artist's eye.

    A newer path (science) which has obvious social flexibility and improved control in the broad range of technical applications involves education in a very different sense but equally challenging and uses a different set of disciplines.

    Much of the conflict between these paths is not involved with truth but with how to agree on truth. The oldest path tends to limit the search with authoritarian support of the traditional answers. But as it turns out, the new path, which we call science also tends to the same thing - that this authoritarian constriction is not only part of the searchers, but is part of the search, made necessary for trustworthy librarianship.

    If this seems chaotic, that is because in many ways it is. You navigate the chaos. Self discipline is the only answer I know. You stand in the wind and don't duck. You learn how to stand in the wind. You learn to apply yourself as well as to use the tools you must use, and never doubt that the truth is often too distant and cannot be "seen with the naked eye". Microscopes and telescopes and more are required to catch the truth.

    To some degree the truth is social. The vision of others is utterly essential. You cannot find the whole truth in solitary and you must rely and trust others in some way. You must also accept authoritarian constraints for the tension they provide, even though you must also be willing to drop them on the instant when necessary.

    There is no other way I know. You simply have to grow up and some of it has to happen in public. The rest is grace. And love.

    All this presumes you actually accept the assignment, the mission impossible. The overwhelming majority choose another life entirely.

  6. Yeh, actually this morning, in a fleeting moment, i was thinking; You know i just want to know the truth (as in what you speak of).
    But it seems such hard work, maybe i just stay with my head in the clouds.
    I love the poem! especailly the second part.

  7. Yes, indeed, Jozien, such hard work. This is why so many of us just accept "the truth" as told by others. There is so much else to do...

    And that is one thread of the authority weave, to cater to the fact that most of us don't want to do it anyway. You write that up by leaning into it and feeding it back as a virtue, don't look beyond what we tell you because you know it is just too hard. So instead take what we tell in in faith and trust. That faith, that trust is a profound virtue, perhaps the most profound virtue, the spin doctors will say.

    This turns what we want to do anyway into a virtue. We want someone else trustworthy to do the hard work if we can get it. That particular ploy is all over my own life, just not so much in this area. What is hard work about it now just a few hundred years ago was nearly impossible to do. Taking someone else's word for it was all most of us had.

  8. Christopher, I am back to learn. I am always back to learn. I hope that that, at least, is a good thing. That my perseverance, here and elsewhere, will at least get me somewhere, and if not Somewhere, then at least keep me moving.

    I find it very interesting that you suggest that others are a part of the discovery of truth. That it is not a solitary quest. Did I read that right? I am surprised, and yet, I find that is the case in my life. That is what I was rejecting, just today. I was trying to boil it down to be a personal untainted quest, but I find that I, me, here and low down, I do not have the vantage point that others might have. Perhaps we do need one another after all. But how to balance between truth offerings and motives? There is a whole other ball of worms.

    Thank you for this. I will keep trying.


  9. Erin, of course there is - a whole other ball of worms. We have institutionalized the deal, Buddhists have Sanghas, Hindus have gurus. In the west we have Universities, mentors and all such. All of this is an attempt to control a little that whole other ball of worms.

    I had a mentor at a critical period. What I think happens, you get passionate enough, hungry enough and the opportunity appears. They say, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. There is a lot of that I think, not only about lessons. My mentor was not really my teacher, he was my lodestone. I stayed nearby and taught myself intensively. I am not really sure what he did for me, it was more what we did with each other. He offered me a concretized hope that things would work out. I had visions of what that meant that were false. What actually happened is the rest of my life.

    I could not have arrived here alone. Even when you can successfully teach yourself this life truth, what happens, you tend to take it too seriously. I am not making this up. I was taught that in the commentaries of the Wilhelm Baynes edition of The I Ching. Wilhelm as translated into English pointed out that the self taught are too ponderous and so lose the lesson. Enlightenment is about lightening up as much as it is about truth.

    That is what doing this thing in concert allows, not only a richness of harmony and a tension of discord, but as well a sense of humor about the whole thing.

  10. Ghost, you are working from last week's quiz. The answer this week is 17.



  11. I am going to stand in the wind....I like it there, at least it's honest.

  12. Not only that, darlin'

    You are freakin' beautiful when the wind blows past you just like that...


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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