Monday, April 30, 2012


I’ve been a fan since adolescence of the pilot, mail carrier, and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a pioneer of a truly new place for human engagement: the air. His stories were largely about life aloft, but he was grounded in a conviction that life was struggle.

As he knew better than most, it takes great effort to remain airborne.

“...(Y)our truth,” he wrote in The Wisdom of the Saints, “is not the discovery of a formula ... because the new being, which is unity disengaging from the disparity of things, does not impose on you at all as the final solution of a conundrum, but as an appeasement of the disputes....”

This reminds me of the psychoanalytic anthropologists Gananath Obeyesekere and Charles Nuckolls, who each in their way regard culture as a compromise among competing values, interests, desires. Like Saint-Exupéry, they view human affairs always as only a temporary appeasement - a problem, as Nuckolls writes, that “won’t go away.”

The stones on a neighborhood lane, still if only for the moment, remind me of all three writers: the pattern the result of placement, gravity, and storm water, each bringing an aesthetic complexity to the result, "an appeasement of the disputes." You can see the effect of water rounding the edge of the stones, pushing the smaller ones along with fallen leaves. It was just a mound of rocks, a surface of asphalt, a flow of water, and then there was this. And after tonight's rain, something more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughtful the risk of sounding pedestrian, it reminds me of the song Judy Collins sang so poignantly..."EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE...NOTHING STAYS THE SAME."
As humans we seem to want change especially when we are young,we get excited about change..the possibilities...some of us find as we age, especially in this culture,
that change is not so means the end is in sight...and for some, it is one of the most gratifying of stages...essentially it really is determined by individuals and their circumstances, don't you think?