Thursday, April 12, 2012
The Dust of the World, Part 4
Metaphor robs the present of its "It just is" quality. It robs us of instinct momentarily. In doing so, it cannot speak about the present moment, describe it in its entirety; rather, it imposes upon it, shapes it from its silent clay. Description is always in some way metaphor. It is history, edification and institutionalization that grant metaphor an appearance of truth or accepted wisdom. That is, the things that come down to us as some kind of truth - whatever kind that may be - is codified and accepted metaphor, or a metaphor reinterpreted and extrapolated upon, again and again.
Description, then, belongs to the past or the future of any given moment. Or, if not to these two tenses, then to some other place, an elsewhere. And it is these other things which shape our lives and give them a sense of purpose, a sense of history and a sense of meaning. They cannot but shape the present, but are always separate from it. These places, times, tenses are where metaphor exists. That is, it does not exist, presently, as such. Thus, when we are presented with metaphor in literature, it is very easy to equate it with insincerity, or to say that it stands in for something. But what if this thing were the silences of all silences, an eternity of presence, a conception of the beyond of which no one can speak fully?
Even though I put upon the present the metaphor of creative putty, to present it as any sort of metaphor is misleading. This is the first step in taking presence away from itself. We will just have to make do with the fact that full, unbridled presence is what we strive for (otherwise why attempt to use a metaphor in the first place?) but it is also what we cannot grasp.
Any kind of happiness, the Buddhists seem to agree, seems to be based upon a coming to terms with this fact.
And, if it were the case that metaphor and presence were one in the same, perhaps the dust of the world could never fall on the world. For there would only just be the world, on its own, without context, out of time, universally present, knowing only the full certainty of nothing.