Friday, October 5, 2012

The Night Horizon

Scott Bradley

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
— David Whyte, "Sweet Darkness"
This is just a fragment of a poem and I won't pretend that how I speak of it here is what its author had in mind, though perhaps it is the power of poetry that it should find a unique resonance in each reader.

Immediately, this insight into the potential of darkness to take us beyond what we can see speaks to me of the Zhuangzian vision of far and unfettered wandering. Where the understanding leaves off, the wandering begins. Like life itself, this wandering is its own reward and makes no promises of certainty or truth. Yet it liberates.

Here are the next two stanzas:
You must learn one thing
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
The world to which I belong was not made to be free in, but it is one in which I might be free. My world is one of what W. Giegerich calls "metaphysical nakedness", where there are in fact no “answers to life's deepest questions”. To seek them would be to deny that world.

Yet in that very nakedness, in that darkness, is this possibility of a transcendence without reference to a defined horizon.

This is simply a human activity, one which we can do because we live and are human. Life requires no justification, no “reason”, apart from itself. Transcendence can be had here, in letting the life that we are live. All that is required is that we thankfully affirm and live in the world in which we find ourselves.

There is also the darkness of our hearts, of loss, fear, pain and sorrow. Yet here, too, is the opportunity to wander where we would not otherwise be able; here is the possibility of discovering that “every enslavement is also an ennobling” and of finding the “Tranquility of Turmoil”.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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