Archive for March, 2016

when ophelia finally came to, she was pissed.
all soaked through and her favorite dress ruined.
what the hell was she thinking? probably that
floating down stream was just the most pleasant
thing to do for the moment: forgotten, the skills
her father awkwardly though lovingly had hoped
to impart. gone, that self-absorbed prig of a
boyfriend! she realized she could do better.
would do better, now free of them all. so she
picked herself up, cleaned off the worst
of the mud, ripped her hem on some thorns
yet made it up the bank anyway to assess
her situation. a bird chirped at her. a bee
buzzed on its merry way. somewhere a dog
barked and she wondered what his name
was and what the time was. the town
slept on under a hot sun and she,
she was alive.

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In the long history of humanity’s struggle for good vs. evil, we have repeatedly asked the question “what shall we do?” At times it is not even clear what we mean. Several hundred years prior, Immanuel Kant attempted to clarify the situation. He proposed that what moral questions aim at is the notion of an autonomous choice – one subject to the rules of reason rather than circumstance. How contingent beings such as ourselves (torn between logic and feeling) achieve this, however, remained a mystery. His intellectual heir, Soren Kierkegaard, took up the challenge and pointed out that such struggles can only be fully captured in poetry. The so called “knight of infinite faith” who risks everything against the odds of caprice and fortune can only be sought in dreams and rare moments of terrible sorrow, such as when Abraham and Isaac made their memorable journey. Our problem is that we remember only the outcome, and forget how the people, themselves, must have suffered along the way. What great images such as Sophocles’ Antigone, Shakespeare’s Edgar, Morrison’s Sethe, or Piercy’s woman on the edge of time therefore embody are the demands of wisdom over reason. A wisdom to risk everything and everyone we love and admire on this strange chance in the dark of space, that we are not alone.

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