31 January 2011

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The world is wrapped up tight within us. And yet towards externalities are we driven--do we drive ourselves. Imagination sets us moving; ambition paves the way; we set our sites and embark.

Imagination is thinking is seeing. Seeing is believing (though Thomas, wisely, doubts). Doubting is seeing something else.

If so, what is the imagined self?

Melville's Ishmael, in the chapter Nightgown: "Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if, darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part."

Vision is light.
Light is vision.

Congenial to our dust and less our essence.

Ishmael, elsewhere, in The Mast-Head (look-out): ..."There you stand, lost in the infinite series of the sea, with nothing ruffled but the waves. The tranced ship indolently rolls; the drowsy trade winds blow; everything resolves you into languor. For the most part, in this tropic whaling life, a sublime uneventfulness invests you..."

"...but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity;"

"There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gently rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch, slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror."

Breathe that in; close your enslaving eyes and be more attuned while less attentive.

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