30 October 2009

Missing the Undercurrent

A normally busy metropolitan interstate at the peak of rush hour is a place in which there are many things going on. But it is probably not the best place in which to discern the rather less obvious virtues and talents of your fellow-drivers.

In the same way, I imagine there are many people in this world who seem slow and stupid, for no other reason than because their gifts, talents, insights lie so much farther beneath the Surface - that heavy, dull, thudding, unresting, unrelenting interstate of life! - than most of us could ever fathom with even the best of human teachers. Or perhaps it is because these individuals' native wisdom (such as it may or may not be) is of a more diffuse and subtle, quietly sifting nature than is detectible by the rather heavier senses of the rest of us. Sometimes quiet things need Quiet in order to be raised - like the unassuming guest called unexpectedly to take her place at the Table's head - to their right pitch, and true volume. In this present wise Age a hard, callous, caustic disposition can often seem not only "practical" and necessary, but overwhelmingly impressive and even admirable. But how much does our admiration blind and deafen - and deaden - us to!

* * * * *

"You're absolutely ruthless, aren't you?" observes the sharp, glaring-bright woman in the Irish TV sitcom whose name I forget. "I like that in a man."

And then I consider what a happier, more discerning, more interesting place this world would be, if more people didn't.

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