Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This here wildly bearded fellow is Henrik Ibsen, whose name I'd heard many a time without complete recognition. Now I've just finished reading about him, and about his major plays. His characters are already having an effect on me. The Wild Duck is about a home, a family, that continues its existence by ignoring all the secrets and problems it hides below its daily distraction. A man takes it upon himself to shed the light of frank truth into the home, and this ultimately destroys the family. One character, a doctor who helped the family maintain its lies, apparently, before the truth-seeker came to town--I really shouldn't be writing about this without having read it, but momentum drives me onward--says this:
"Deprive the average human being of his life-lie, and you rob him of his happiness.”
Many similar proclamations have been made, especially around the turn of the century--philosophers, psychologists, writers, characters. And yet, they would say, to expose the life-lie is our regrettable duty.
Somehow this line, this notion of the duty to disillusion ourselves, to draw things out of shadowy fantasy, is breaking my little heart this afternoon. It is a little heart, mine. It sits on one edge of history's crater, and gapes, childishly.
Because I can't figure which end is up, which door is disillusionment. If being here were like being a child playing in a box. How to exit the box. Language, a useful tool, is utterly confusing as a compass. Which way of speaking about life isn't a fabrication? Don't words always represent life? A representation isn't the thing itself. And what is a thing other than a entity so named because of its participation in a system of being?
There are two moments when I really feel truth: in the moment of epiphany, and in the moment that so often accompanies epiphany, which is really the original meaning of epiphany--manifestation: when I become aware of myself as present, as a being here. When an object is manifested as not-objective, but as present. It feels like truth. My lamp in front of me, disclosing its being to me.
But I am a child, using the toys of other children to act out the world, inside my box.
Language causes to flow over me fluctuating waves of euphoria and humility.
Subject verb verb phrase prep phrase participial phrase as d/o prep phrase conjunction noun.