Saturday, April 24, 2021

Other Worlds

"Is there anything on earth which would have meaning
and would even change the course of events not only on
earth, but in other worlds?” I asked my teacher.
“There is,” my teacher answered me.
“Well, what is it?” I asked.
“It’s...” began my teacher and suddenly fell silent.
I stood and waited intently for his answer.
But he was silent.
And I stood and was silent.
And he was silent.
And I stood, silent.
And he was silent.
We’re both standing and silent.
We’re both standing and silent.
Yes, yes, we’re both
standing and silent!"

-  Daniil Kharms (1905 - 1942)

Postscript. Daniil Kharms is one of my all-time favorite authors of the "absurd." The best, purest form of absurdist literature - such as its uniquely Russian incarnation (called the Oberiu) in the 1920s and 1930s, which included such luminaries as Alexander VvedenskyNikolai Zabolotsky, and  Konstantin Vaginov - shares much with its spiritual cousin, the Zen koan. Its twists of logic, humor, and hallucinatory distortions of babble and reality often - unexpectedly - point to the deepest truths. For those of you who share my affection for these kinds of inner journeys of discovery, a great place to start is with this collection of Kharms' writings: Today I Wrote Nothing, from which the following passage is quoted (from the story, The Werld”):

"I told myself that I see the world. But the whole world was not accessible to my gaze, and I saw only parts of the world. And everything that I saw I called parts of the world. And I examined the properties of these parts and, examining these properties, I wrought science. I understood that the parts have intelligent properties and that the same parts have unintelligent properties. And there were such parts of the world which could think. And all these parts resembled one another, and I resembled them. And I spoke with these parts. And suddenly I ceased seeing them and, soon after, other parts as well. But then I understood that I do not see parts independently, but I see it all at once. At first I thought that is was NOTHING. But then I understood that this was the world and what I had seen before was NOT the world.

And then I realized
I am the world.
But the world -  is not me.
Although at the same time
I am the world.
But the world's not me.
And I'm the world.
But the world's not me.
And I'm the world.
But the world's not me.
And I'm the world.
And after that
I didn't think anymore more."


oook said...

Right to the absolute Heart, Andy. I hope you know that you have true, absolute, and utter fans, and that two of them are in Midcoast Maine, awaiting your next post!

Andy Ilachinski said...

Hi Hugh, thanks for stopping by; and a humble bow in gratitude for the kind words. How are you guys doing up there - I'm assuming you've both gotten your vaccine shots?