January 3, 2010

I Have Not

To have done is to have, to own something: a reward of being.
I have not because I have not been because I have not done.
I have not wondered in all; I have not wept at all; I have not wished for all.
And so I am left not understanding: I do not even understand what it is to not understand.
For this I am ashamed and I hide it in these words.

I say I hide it because I suppose you will have to read this twice or thrice over to grasp what I say. Or else you will feel like you do not understand either. This is unkind of me, and reminds me of life.

I should try to expand, explain: I should try to express what really is, freed from imaginary constraints about sounding enigmatic. But I do not know if I can explain, because it doesn't matter that I do not fully understand. I guess I only tell you as an excuse for silence.

There seem to be a thousand ways to speak, and I don't know which I mean. I think of pride and shame: if they're the same thing. They cannot be, but they seem to go together. I think of poetry, and expression, and if some things cannot be explained, because the bewildering (I like that word, bewildering; I used it at least twice in my novel) way it said is the truest to what it is and the impression it should give to convey its meaning. I wonder if knowing something fully will allow us to express it with beauty. And now the knowledge of my insufficiency is still there, but the feeling is gone. If I cared only to talk about how it felt, I have nothing left to say.

Why did I, do I, write this?

How strange it is to know my questions and the answer to all of them, but be lost and uncertain of the space between them. Today I finished rereading Till We Have Faces and I know that before the face of God all questions die away, because He is the answer.

Plato says knowledge is true, justified, belief. Maybe one day I'll understand the justification for the Answer fully; maybe one day I will have knowledge.

(Maybe one day I will discover how to speak seriously without being pretentious, or to say something that is more than just a response to the thoughts of another - though that seems unlikely- and maybe one day I will finish well.)

Um?

Life goes on.

7 comments:

Tunafish said...

Confusing =P or I'm tired. But on what I think I grasped I will comment =) I really like poetry. And I like to understand it =P There are so many ways to say one thing. And so much more when it comes to GOD. If He is the Answer, which He is, then He is so hard to describe. And I suppose confusing too. But if you know all of what and who He is, He is no longer confusing, just communicating what and who He is. Sorry I'm not much of a thinker, I just like to think of myself that way =P so I'm pretty much just typing what comes to mind. Probably not the best thing to do... If you have knowledge of something fully, you can express it wonderfully. But it may only seem beautiful and amazing to those who don't understand it or if it really is beautiful and amazing to those who understand it as well. You sound kinda sad and stuff. Hope you feel better =) Jesus loves you!

Micah E. said...

It is almost maddening, to know that there is an answer to your questions, to know what that answer is, and to be unable to understand that answer.

I read this four times, trying to understand it, and I think I'd be pretending if I said I did.

It feels as if the one thing we should understand should be what it is to not understand. But maybe description, feelings, experience is not understanding.

Michael said...

"I wonder if knowing something fully will allow us to express it with beauty."

I wonder if we cannot describe it in words, does that mean we don't understand it? Is truth so linked to language that one cannot be understood without the other?

I am with Micah, I might be able to say that I half understand this, though much rereading, though not from start to finish, but from start to finish to middle to start, to near the end, to middle again, to the end again.

Hayley said...

Coincidentally, I've been writing something on this very subject these past few days. Not so much the "have not" part, but the reality of expression part. I feel you've confirmed that I've been asking valid questions. Thank you?

As to the "have not" part, I empathize and I agree. Life goes on.

Art said...

If you want a little bit of an explanation of this post, you can read my comment on Hayley's blog. http://ambitionandapathy.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-little-piece-of-heresy.html

"If you have knowledge of something fully, you can express it wonderfully." Unfortunately I never have knowledge of something fully.

"But maybe description, feelings, experience is not understanding." I've come to that conclusion, because experience is about what I am like, or my response, and not about the thing itself.

"Is truth so linked to language that one cannot be understood without the other?" Putting the question that way is very interesting. I think expression is necessary for us to understand, but I don't know if our understanding allows us to re-express it well.

"I feel you've confirmed that I've been asking valid questions." B-)

Oh, I also wonder how many people check the "email follow up comments" box.

Michael said...

There exists such a box? I've been going to peoples blogs again to see if someone else commented for . . . forever. Thank you, Rebecca . . . my life is that much better. :P . . . this is so jokes!

Art said...

"I've been going to peoples blogs again to see if someone else commented for . . . forever."
:D
I know how it is... Sometimes I think I should just ask people to add my email into the email notification box for their whole blog. :P