Thursday, December 21, 2006

the virtue of being broken (a brief reflection on heidegger's being and time, §16)

Evelyn deMorgan, "Cassandra" (1898)

in moments of harmony and peace, we are actually quite blind to the Real. there is nothing that would disrupt our efforts and our immersion in the habits and traditions of the culturally inherited world by which we are. precisely because reality is harmonious, one is led even deeper into harmony itself, lost in its seeming obviousness and inevitability. everything we are is given in that harmony and nothing seems external or limited by the Real which benevolently shelters us from the need for thought or introspection.

knowledge arises precisely as things break down, in dischord and disharmony. at the point where one becomes disjointed and pulled out of the comfort of oblivious obviousness. suddenly the world appears in its objectivity; the world appears as something fashioned and made and thus susceptible to fracture. after the appearance of the first false note, even if the harmony is regained it can never again be the same, since now even the harmony itself is revealed to be an artifact: something crafted by human pursuits and practices. harmony and disharmony become thematic concerns for the self as one struggles to make sense. and the natural-harmony shows itself false insofar as it blinded its inhabitants to their rational and free natures.

this is why the prophet can never have a home, because the prophet is the one who stands in the moment of freedom and reveals the naturalness of the harmony, upon which They so strongly insist, to be nothing more than the blindness of animal instinct and barbarism. even harmony, insists the prophet, must be made one's own in a moment of lucid rationality that sees through to the Truth-in-which-humanity-itself-is-a-participant: a moment that will transform oneself and the Real to its core. broken, the prophet will be hated by those who think themselves healthy; and the one who is sighted will be despised by the blind.



irving said...

A brilliant reflection. Knowledge that arises out out of discord is a very interesting thought that I will have to think about longer. Thank you for the insight :) Even Huserl said that time is only a construct of the mind to bring order and a focal point to existance, but this gives me pause. It may be more necessary than I have believed.
But I still won't wear a watch :)

Ya Haqq!

Um Ibrahim said...

Interesting thoughts,but in my mind it still needs to be "redigest" though:)

Lawrence of Arabia said...

watches are over-rated!

i think you need some way of standing outside the flow of the everyday rhetoric in order to have a chance at real knowledge. these were the prophets, the people who saw that there was something unwholesome and blinding about what was, in the eyes of everyone else, harmonious. the Truth is not simply given, but is something in which we must take part. truths that have lost their reason, cultural discourse that has become unthinking and habit-based, these are dead letter. the Truth does not exempt us from exercising our freedom but is the very thing by which we can be free.

Ayesha said...

the way i gauged this truth growing up was through my personal journal... i've kept one since i was 11, and the rhythm that eventually developed showed my deepest insight - and my best writing - occurred at times of greatest personal turmoil, when things were NOT okay. is bliss ignorance then? can one learn without pain?
or maybe i have totally mistaken your post and am just making a fool of myself :)

Lawrence of Arabia said...

i think you are right on target. i am sure that happy people must be capable of writing well (and so on), nonetheless the real breakthroughs, personally, politically, etc., have to have some ability to see the limits of where one is. the contradictions that are being overlooked by those who think everything is ok. there has to be some event or reason that one rises above the everyday happenings of life and judges it from a different standpoint. you only do that if things seem 'broken'.