Thursday, July 08, 2010

Dark Night of the Mind

For those who take the life of the mind seriously it is a high offence that Islam intrudes into our sober and humble lives, taking us away from work we love and would continue to cultivate had we such time to indulge in this luxury of reading and thinking and admiring the Beautiful and the True. Not Milton but Mohammed enters my mind and, rather that enriching me, impoverishes my being. My love is now the love of hatred. I read about my enemies; I write to wound, and hope to kill. The darkness of the mind would be total were it not for the fires of war. When the day is done, I sit with my books and tear at the dead, searching for secrets and weapons. It wasn't always this way.

When evening comes, I return home and enter my study; on the threshold I take off my workday clothes, covered with mud and dirt, and put on the garments of court and palace. Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine and for which I was born; where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me. And for four hours at a time I feel no boredom, I forget all my troubles, I do not dread poverty, and I am not terrified by death. I absorb myself into them completely.
Niccolò Machiavelli to Francesco Vettori December 10, 1513

There is still some fine writing coming from our contemporaries, work that will, in 500 years from now, still exalt Humanity, and make us all proud. Yes, dear reader, I refer to Paul Simon.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
Oh. I was joking. Time to put away childish things, then, and do what we can to make whatever future ours will have something they might be free to choose, more or less.

N.B. The comments section is open, as always, but it's not working as well as it should. Thus, please look below for my manual insertion of a comment from Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff
Thanks Steve.

2 comments:

Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff said...

I came to have similar thoughts during the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" run-up. While it prompted me to put pen to paper and draw cartoons in over a decade, part of me felt like I was drawing for all the wrong reasons.

I'm still glad I did it, but I still wish to some extent that I hadn't felt the need. (Nor, for that matter, the need for my ongoing "Tectonic Tuesdays" series.)

Dag said...

Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff, left a comment here, and in spite of me publishing it three times, it still doesn't register here. So, I'm posting it under my name and hope that Blogger will fix this recurring problem soon so our friends and readers generally can have their say in some confidence that it will actually show up. My apologies for this wrinkle.

I'm leaving a link to Steve's works at the bottom of the original post above so you can visit him if you like.

Here's Steve:

Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff has left a new comment on your post "Dark Night of the Mind":

I came to have similar thoughts during the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" run-up. While it prompted me to put pen to paper and draw cartoons in over a decade, part of me felt like I was drawing for all the wrong reasons.

I'm still glad I did it, but I still wish to some extent that I hadn't felt the need. (Nor, for that matter, the need for my ongoing "Tectonic Tuesdays" series.)