September 4, 2014 — Squirrel thoughts

Dear L*,

I just got out of a long meeting, made myself a cup of coffee and now I’m writing to you, as I was eager to do so. The day went very smoothly and the meeting as well. I will apply an easy mechanism of linking in between departments online (something that I have done several times before, but that is alien to the institution here, as it functions on guarding information from others) a process that will gradually make it easy for me to work remotely and still stay in touch with everyone. While it’s practical for relations with colleagues and so, especially for now, on the customer servicing front, it’s even more practical for me to create a trustworthy model that will let me work at a distance in the future. I also knew that my boss is leaving the country from 1 till 20 October. I will make use of this opportunity to patch my research together and work on my thesis the way I want to at AUB, as you suggested. I still have a huge to read list, but I’ll skim through the most important stuff and paraphrase, it is not the right time to be a perfectionist.

In the morning, I read a paragraph from Sylvia Plath’s thoughts on transcendence and nature. Her emotions sum up the way I feel when I am with you. They are quite identical and I am amazed at how thoroughly she has described this particular state of feeling.

Throughout her essay, she outlines the serenity of nature, its oneness, the soothing movement of the sea’s waves, the way light flickers, the rocks. With awe, she describes, how lifeless matter, like conscious biological matter, moves and sways within a mystical energy cycle and that the commonality of both is that they exist with and without each other, constantly changing, persisting, dying, transforming, becoming.

She says:

“A serene sense of the slow inevitability of the gradual changes in the earth’s crust comes over me; a consuming love, not of a god, but of the clean unbroken sense that the rocks, which are nameless, the waves which are nameless, the ragged grass, which is nameless, are all defined momentarily through the consciousness of the being who observes them. With the sun burning into rock and flesh, and the wind ruffling grass and hair, there is an awareness that the blind immense unconscious impersonal and neutral forces will endure, and that the fragile, miraculously knit organism which interprets them, endows them with meaning, will move about for a little, then falter, fail, and decompose at last into the anonomous [sic] soil, voiceless, faceless, without identity.”

And then she describes, from her nihilistic outlook, how this amalgamating experience purifies and cleanses her in the process, knowing that she is one with it all cleanses her from a consciousness that labels and calls things with names:

“From this experience I emerged whole and clean, bitten to the bone by sun, washed pure by the icy sharpness of salt water, dried and bleached to the smooth tranquillity that comes from dwelling among primal things.”

And here, she further elaborates about how this nihilistic attitude, gives her faith:

“From this experience also, a faith arises to carry back to a human world of small lusts and deceitful pettiness. A faith, naïve and child like perhaps, born as it is from the infinite simplicity of nature. It is a feeling that no matter what the ideas or conduct of others, there is a unique rightness and beauty to life which can be shared in openness, in wind and sunlight, with a fellow human being who believes in the same basic principles.”

The last paragraph sums up the transcendental experience that I feel sometimes, when I am with you. :)

On another note, I find interesting the duality of this woman, which stems mainly from extreme depth and understanding of the workings of the world. In her youthful pondering (she wrote the above when she was merely 19) about our imminent insignificance en face of the lifeless parts of the ecosystem that will one day suck out our remains, she is positive. Her nihilistic outlook is spun positively as in it, there still is a thread of hope, that of sharing a moment of depth with a human being whose values are similar.

This very perception of how the world could be, can also work against a person, it alienates them, creates a feeling of anomie (a breakdown in their identification with the values of the world), a feeling of disintegration, and compulsory isolation triggered by these idealistic values, leading, as in her case, to suicide.

Which brings us back to yesterday’s conversation. It seems, that human beings not only need human touch and interaction for growth and survival, we also need a balanced illusion to help us create a safe haven.



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