Friday, 14 October 2011

Just a Thought

Image from Amazon.

Sometimes I get cross with Kenneth White.

and then sometimes amid all the cynical self-aggrandising and contemptuous ramblings (I was reading Across the Territories while I was on Islay) there's something so profound and incisive and inspiring you have to let him off.

Like this:

"the real is richer than the imagination --- The real demands investigation and is an invitation to sensitive knowledge --- then a relationship to the real and its resistance requires changes in thought, in ways of being, in ways of saying; it requires a transformation of the self --- how much more interesting an open and poetic process (is) involving contemplation, study, movement, meditation and composition." page 86

Now as I go on, I can see reservations building up. Kenneth White and I would have some major disagreements about what's real. He doesn't seem to think that much about human society is particularly real and he wouldn't have much time for my understanding of God as 'that which is most definitively real' - 'myth-malarkey' is the word he uses (and let us agree that there is a lot of myth-malarkey in what passes for religion in popular culture).

Also I'm fairly sure that there is deeper engagement in reality and more transformation of the self going on if you stay put, rather than being a nomad, and that dialogue between two (or more) people of alert and open minds might be as fruitful as an unaligned solitude, but I'm all for this process of relating to the resistant real. There's more joy in discovering the quirks and flaws and deviations and serendipities of a world which is given, than in designing a matrix that obeys the narcissistic whims of the human fantasy


Marion McCready said...

Ooh looks interesting, must add that to my wish-list. I don't buy into everything he says but he's always thought-provoking and never dull!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Oh I'm glad I'm not the only person who gets cross with Kenneth White!

Elizabeth Rimmer said...

Many people get cross with him - but then he comes up with something really interesting!