July 15, 2010...11:43 am

Why there is no post today…

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Hi. Chris here. Micha asked me to publish Alysia’s post while she’s at the monastery, but I didn’t listen and published it too soon (big surprise).

So, rather then getting a post a day, you got two yesterday and none from her today. Sorry!

After reading Alysia’s post on the Geography of Home I thought of CS Lewis’ essay, The Weight of Glory, and how Home is such an elusive notion. Here is the passage in mind.

In speaking of this desire for our own faroff country, which we  find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost  committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your  revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence;  the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very  intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow  awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and  cannot tell, though we desire to do both.

We cannot tell it because it  is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our  experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly  suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a  name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that  had settled the matter.

Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with  certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth  had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the  thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn  out to be itself a remembering.

The books or the music in which we  thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it  was not in them, it only came through them, and what came  through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own  past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken  for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of  their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the  scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not  heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

We could do a whole discussion on the German notion of Sehnsucht, or “longing”.

What do you long for?

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