Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Four Elements of Deep Silence: Air

Deep silence as air: two apparently differing metaphorical universes come immediately to mind, neither of which is, strictly speaking, biblical or liturgical. One is found in the poetry of Gerard Manly Hopkins. Spirit breathes through his words, always airy: windhover; breath and bread; wild aire . . .nestling . . . everywhere; wound with mercy . . .as if with air; freshness deep down things. . ./ah! bright wings. The other metaphorical universe exalts in Ralph Vaughan Williams' 'Lark Ascending', golden shimmer of ecstasy under azure skies. Paradoxical, perhaps, to think of silence-as-air in words on the one hand and music on the other, yet both Hopkins and Williams draw deep silence through their art into our everyday world so that we may behold it.

A discussion of the reality of nothing (no, really!) on TV—this was a programme that demonstrated that while generally speaking there is nothing on TV, there is occasionally a programme worth watching if its subject is nothing, which proves much more interesting than the programmes pretending to say something . . . . oh well, you get the drift! This programme suggested a quantum analogy for air as deep silence . . .though there is always the danger with physics that someone will think the physical can prove the metaphysical.

It turns out that absolute emptiness, a vacuum, is alive with energy, and that something, matter, arises from this energy that is alive in nothing. The theory seems to be that this energy manifests as electrons and anti-electrons, always on the move; when they chance to collide they annihilate each other and the cycle begins again. Somehow, very rarely, a positive electron survives, and it is these survivors that make up all the matter in the universe. [I have a problem with this theory: how do the positive ones survive? but perhaps there isn't an answer.] May 22: the answer is asymmetry.

The question arises: is there a me and an anti-me that meet in the silence and annihilate each other? do enough particles of me survive in the silence to make an unfolding truth that becomes manifest in the world? is this unfolding self determined by intention meeting grace, as the Cloud-author hints? or to look at it another way, is the construct that issues from self-consciousness anti-me, which, when it is given over to the silence meets me and is annihilated? does enough of me survive to make it into the real world? I am being absurd.

The breath of God blows where it will; its passing goes unremarked, its effects are life-changing. The primordial Spirit breathes over the deep, breathes ever-renewing creation deep in the silence in our souls; gusts silent laughter in divine play. It dances with earth, fire and water; exhales the still, small voice.


Anonymous AM said...

The Cross as the ultimate anti-matter; ultimate nothingness whose silence is actually beyond human comprehension. Yet in the silence God was ultimately at work.

6:36 am, April 07, 2011  
Anonymous AM said...

Matter and anti-matter, speech and silence. I like to think they are good neighbors.Perhaps, physics is still trapped within a Cartesian coop in using the word "annihilation" which has something to do with our nuclear capacity for self-destruction (I'm currently reading Rosenberg's Epicenter and the evil plan of Russia and Iran to attack Israel through nuclear arms; to annihilate Israel). "Annihilation" it seems is human engagement with death. Perhaps, the word is fulfillment. Matter and anti-matter, speech and silence - in between is the healthy exchange of truth i like to mull over. Max Picard wrote: "In silence, truth is passive and slumbering, but in language it is wide-awake." I like to replace silence with antimatter, and language with matter so that it reads: in antimatter, truth is passive and slumbering, but in matter it is wide-awake.

7:01 am, April 07, 2011  

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