Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Something to think about:


Like students of art who walk around a great statue, seeing parts and aspects of it from each position, but never the whole work, we must walk mentally around time, using a variety of approaches, a pandemonium of metaphor. No insight or association, however outlandish or contradictory, should be forbidden us; the only thing forbidden should be to stand still and say, "This is it."

-- Charles Grudin --
from Time and the Art of Living

Sometimes I understand Grudin and sometimes I don't. This is one of those "don't" times.

I know what a statue is, and I know what the students are walking around, but what do students of time "walk mentally around"?


  1. History? Incidents in the past? A metaphorical 'statue' made up of bits and pieces of that past?

    Sounds good to me. :)

  2. Yvette,

    An interesting thought. "bits and pieces" which we can focus on but don't really see the overarching picture, unless, as Lawrence Durrell says in _Justine_:

    "As for me I am neither happy nor unhappy: I lie suspended like a hair or a feather in the cloudy mixtures of memory. I spoke of the uselessness of art but added nothing truthful about its consolations. The solace of such work as I do with brain and heart lies in this--that only _there_, in the silences of the painter or the writer can reality be reordered, reworked and made to show its significant side."

    This jumped off the page at me the first time I read _Justine_ decades ago, and I've never forgotten it.

  3. I've never read Lawrence Durrell, don't think I'd understand him. But I have read his brother Gerald. He's more to my liking. (I think that might come as no surprise.)

    I'm not a student of philosophy, Fred. Most of it eludes me, I'm afraid.

    "...in the silences of the painter or the writer can reality be reordered, reworked and made to show its significant side."

    The consolation of art. This is something I would recognize and agree with.

  4. Yvette,

    Consolation yes, but I think something more. The work or the writer and the painter is to reorder, rework and make reality "show its significant side."

    That suggests to me that the point is that reality in itself is a collection of bits and pieces until art appears--writers etc, in reworking the past, bring out whatever significance there is.

    I frequently surprise myself when I sit down and begin writing--at some point I frequently stop and say something to the effect that "I didn't know I believed that or thought that."