A historic, in-depth study of what it means to risk one's life to be an artist. It is also a depiction of sexual confusions, ironic outrage and rage, and the shedding of society's armor to create a female knight in pursuit of a vision. Georgia O'Keeffe is the one woman who was there first in the world of art.
When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good. . . . When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements which seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens. How confusions which seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.
Seeing with better eyes We can recognize that the offender is a valuable human being who struggles with the same needs, pressures, and confusions that we struggle with. We will recognize that the incident really may not have been about us in the first place. Instead it was about the wrongdoer's misguided attempt to meet his or her own needs. As we regard offenders from this point of view (regardless of whether they repent and regardless of what they have done or suffered), we will be in a position to forgive them.
When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and to go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard. I have deeply appreciated the times that I have experienced this sensitive, empathic, concentrated listening.
Carl R. Rogers
Not so many years ago there was no simpler or more intelligible notion than that of going on a journey. Travel -movement through space -provided the universal metaphor for change. One of the subtle confusions -perhaps one of the secret terrors -of modern life is that we have lost this refuge. No longer do we move through space as we once did.
Daniel J. Boorstin
You don't choose your themes; they choose you. The meaning of your stories will rise out of your deepest longings, often out of longings so deep that you haven't admitted them even to yourself. Your convictions, your confusions, your most passionate dreams will be there whenever you begin a story, so you might as well learn to tap into them.
Marion Dane Bauer
I drove all night, northeast, and once again I felt it was literature I had been confronting these past days, the archetypes of the dismal mystery, sons and daughters of the archetypes, images that could not be certain which of two confusions held less terror, their own or what their own might become if it ever faced the truth. I drove at insane speeds.
For us old-age pensioners, autumn is on the whole a dangerous season. He who knows how difficult it is for us to achieve any stability at all, how difficult it is to avoid distraction or destruction by one's own hand, will understant tha autumn, its winds, disturbances, and atmospheric confusions, does not favour our existence, which is precarious anyway.
Life and death are nothing but the mind. Years, months, days, and hours are nothing but the mind. Dreams, illusions, and mirages are nothing but the mind. The bubbles of water and the flames of fire are nothing but the mind. The flowers of the spring and the moon of the autumn are nothing but the mind. Confusions and dangers are nothing but the mind.
Perhaps extreme danger strips us of all pretenses, all ambitions, all confusions, focusing us more intensely than we are otherwise ever focused, so that we remember what we otherwise spend most of our lives forgetting: that our nature and purpose is, more than anything else, to love and to make love, to take joy from the beauty of the world, to live with an awareness that the future is not as real a place for any of us as are the present and the past.
The Great Story of our immense journey contains crucial lessons for guiding humanity safely through the dangers and confusions evident today. This grand epic will propel us forward in a spirit of expectant curiosity. We will place our trust not only in the Whole but also in our own species' capacity to serve as the vessel through which the evolutionary impulse is most active at this time.
Alan Paul plunges into Chinese life and takes us along for the ride, through vegetable markets, used-car lots, Taoist temples, divey bars, and a beachside music festival before thousands of cheering fans. He conveys the thrills and challenges of living abroad, the confusions and regrets, and most of all the opportunity to become the person we always hoped to be.
The equivocations, the confusions, the contradictions. There's no way we can live through or comprehend something so big that happened so long ago. We've lost true history. But if we are willing to tolerate the contradictions, and if we suffer through events rather than ticking them off, we may at least get closer to understanding what happened than if we grip the handrail of a carefully polished and reassuringly heroic narrative.
Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we're central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we're separate from the universe (there's US and then, out there, all that other junk - dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we're permanent (death is real, o.k., sure - for you, but not for me).
It seems to be the special peculiarity of human beings that they reflect: they think about thinking and know that they know. This, like other feedback systems, may lead to vicious circles and confusions if improperly managed, but self-awareness makes human experience resonant. It imparts that simultaneous "echo" to all that we think and feel as the box of a violin reverberates with the sound of the strings. It gives depth and volume to what would otherwise be shallow and flat.
Bodies count, of course - they count more than we're willing to admit - but we don't fall in love with bodies, we fall in love with each other. We all know that, but the moment we go beyond a catalogue of surface qualities and appearances, words begin to fail us, to crumble apart in mystical confusions and cloudy, unsubstantial metaphors.
It is not as mirrors reflect us but, rather, as our dreams do, that movies most truly reveal the times. If the dreams we have been dreaming provide a sad picture of us, it should be remembered that - like that first book of Dante's Comedy - they show forth only one region of the psyche. Through them we can read with a peculiar accuracy the fears and confusions that assail us - we can read, in caricature, the Hell in which we are bound. But we cannot read the best hopes of the time.
It was not their irritating assumption of equality that annoyed Nicholai so much as their cultural confusions. The Americans seemed to confuse standard of living with quality of life, equal opportunity with institutionalized mediocrity, bravery with courage, machismo with manhood, liberty with freedom, wordiness with articulation, fun with pleasure - in short, all of the misconceptions common to those who assume that justice implies equality for all, rather than equality for equals.
In the process of burning out these confusions, we discover enlightenment. If the process were otherwise, the awakened state of mind would be a product dependent upon cause and effect and therefore liable to dissolution. Anything which is created must, sooner or later, die. If enlightenment were created in such a way, there would always be a possibility of ego reasserting itself, causing a return to the confused state. Enlightenment is permanent because we have not produced it; we have merely discovered it.
The problem I want to talk to you about tonight is the problem of belief. What does it mean to believe? We use this word all the time, and I think behind it lurk some really extraordinary taboos and confusions. What I want to argue tonight is that how we talk about belief- how we fail to criticize or criticize the beliefs of others, has more importance to us personally, more consequence to us personally and to civilization than perhaps anything else that is in our power to influence.
At some point in your life, the unexpected happens. People, who once trusted you, will doubt you. People, who once loved you, will hate you. People, who once felt you, will judge you. People, who once stood next to you, will not be there for you. People change. Circumstances change. Relationships change. But you shouldn't change when people do. Above all relationships, problems and confusions, there's something called 'humanity'. Be human. Love all; hate none. Even if they walk away from you, be there when they need you.
O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose, My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill, Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still. Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes, Confusions multiplied; From crowding things of sense I flee, and Thee I hide. Until this tyranny be overpast, Thy hand will hold me fast; What though the tumult of the storm increase, Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord, and bless with peace.
You are hiding your confusions. You are worried. You feel being rejected by people whom you trust. You are being ignored by people whom you love. I want to tell you that it's not the end. Your problems are just part of your life and not half of it. Cry, if your heart says so. Confess in faith, if your soul wishes to. Speak about your fears. Do all that your innermost self truly desires, but make sure you are not hiding yourself from your self. Make sure you are not suppressing more emotions. Make sure you are not hiding more tears. Make sure you are not losing the person you once used to be. Smile. Life is yours.
These two poles, the unconditional and the conditional, are absolutely heterogeneous, and must remain irreducible to one another. They are nonetheless indissociable: if one wants, and it is necessary, forgiveness to become effective, concrete, historic; if one wants it to arrive, to happen by changing things, it is necessary that this purity engage itself in a series of conditions of all kinds (psychosociological, political, etc.). It is between these two poles, irreconcilable but indissociable, that decisions and responsibilities are to be taken. Yet despite all the confusions which reduce forgiveness to amnesty or to amnesia, to acquittal or prescription, to the work of mourning or some political therapy of reconciliation, in short to some historical ecology, it must never be forgotten, nevertheless, that all of that refers to a certain idea of pure and unconditional forgiveness, without which this discourse would not have the least meaning. What complicates the question of 'meaning' is again what I suggested a moment ago: pure and unconditional forgiveness, in order to have its own meaning, must have no 'meaning', no finality, even no intelligibility. It is a madness of the impossible.
Daydream, which is to thought as the nebula is to the star, borders on sleep, and is concerned with it as its frontier. An atmosphere inhabited by living transparencies: there's a beginning of the unknown. But beyond it the Possible opens out, immense. Other beings, other facts, are there. No supernaturalism, only the occult continuation of infinite nature... Sleep is in contact with the Possible, which we also call the improbable. The world of the night is a world. Night, as night, is a universe... The dark things of the unknown world become neighbors of man, whether by true communication or by a visionary enlargement of the distances of the abyss... and the sleeper, not quite seeing, not quite unconscious, glimpses the strange animalities, weird vegetations, terrible or radiant pallors, ghosts, masks, figures, hydras, confusions, moonless moonlights, obscure unmakings of miracle, growths and vanishings within a murky depth, shapes floating in shadow, the whole mystery which we call Dreaming, and which is nothing other than the approach of an invisible reality. The dream is the aquarium of Night.
In Uganda, I wrote a questionaire that I had my research assistants give; on it, I asked about the embalasassa, a speckled lizard said to be poisonous and to have been sent by Prime minsister Milton Obote to kill Baganda in the late 1960s. It is not poisonous and was no more common in the 1960s than it had been in previous decades, as Makerere University science professors announced on the radio and stated in print... I wrote the question, What is the difference between basimamoto and embalasassa? Anyone who knows anything about the Bantu language-myself included-would know the answer was contained in the question: humans and reptiles are different living things and belong to different noun classes... A few of my informants corrected my ignorance... but many, many more ignored the translation in my question and moved beyond it to address the history of the constructs of firemen and poisonous lizards without the slightest hesitation. They disregarded language to engage in a discussion of events... My point is not about the truth of the embalasassa story... but rather that the labeling of one thing as 'true' and the other as 'fictive' or 'metaphorical'-all the usual polite academic terms for false-may eclipse all the intricate ways in which people use social truths to talk about the past. Moreover, chronological contradictions may foreground the fuzziness of certain ideas and policies, and that fuzziness may be more accurate than any exact historical reconstruction... Whether the story of the poisionous embalasassa was real was hardly the issue; there was a real, harmless lizard and there was a real time when people in and around Kampala feared the embalasassa. They feared it in part because of beliefs about lizards, but mainly what frightened people was their fear of their government and the lengths to which it would go to harm them. The confusions and the misunderstandings show what is important; knowledge about the actual lizard would not.
When it begins it is like a light in a tunnel, a rush of steel and steam across a torn up life. It is a low rumble, an earthquake in the back of the mind. My spine is a track with cold black steel racing on it, a trail of steam and dust following behind, ghost like. It feels like my whole life is holding its breath. By the time she leaves the room I am surprised that she can't see the train. It has jumped the track of my spine and landed in my mothers' living room. A cold dark thing, black steel and redwood paneling. It is the old type, from the western movies I loved as a kid. He throws open the doors to the outside world, to the dark ocean. I feel a breeze tugging at me, a slender finger of wind that catches at my shirt. Pulling. Grabbing. I can feel the panic build in me, the need to scream or cry rising in my throat. And then I am out the door, running, tumbling down the steps falling out into the darkened world, falling out into the lifeless ocean. Out into the blackness. Out among the stars and shadows. And underneath my skin, in the back of my head and down the back of my spine I can feel the desperation and I can feel the noise. I can feel the deep and ancient ache of loudness that litters across my bones. It's like an old lover, comfortable and well known, but unwelcome and inappropriate with her stories of our frolicking. And then she's gone and the Conductor is closing the door. The darkness swells around us, enveloping us in a cocoon, pressing flat against the train like a storm. I wonder, what is this place? Those had been heady days, full and intense. It's funny. I remember the problems, the confusions and the fears of life we all dealt with. But, that all seems to fade. It all seems to be replaced by images of the days when it was all just okay. We all had plans back then, patterns in which we expected the world to fit, how it was to be deciphered. Eventually you just can't carry yourself any longer, can't keep your eyelids open, and can't focus on anything but the flickering light of the stars. Hours pass, at first slowly like a river and then all in a rush, a climax and I am home in the dorm, waking up to the ringing of the telephone. When she is gone the apartment is silent, empty, almost like a person sleeping, waiting to wake up. When she is gone, and I am alone, I curl up on the bed, wait for the house to eject me from its dying corpse. Crazy thoughts cross through my head, like slants of light in an attic. The Boston 395 rocks a bit, a creaking noise spilling in from the undercarriage. I have decided that whatever this place is, all these noises, sensations - all the train-ness of this place - is a fabrication. It lulls you into a sense of security, allows you to feel as if it's a familiar place. But whatever it is, it's not a train, or at least not just a train. The air, heightened, tense against the glass. I can hear the squeak of shoes on linoleum, I can hear the soft rattle of a dying man's breathing. Men in white uniforms, sharp pressed lines, run past, rolling gurneys down florescent hallways.