We are lost without sincerity. To be immersed in lies; to constantly dissemble; to be treated as an object for someone else’s purposes; is to find our selves in the utmost precarity.
An apocryphal tale whose source I can no longer remember sticks with me. It’s of a moment of first encounter between a North American and some “Discoverer,” some hell-bent treasure-hunter arriving on these shores with visions of gold and spices and slaves to be had. The chief is summoned. He takes one look at this alien visitor and strikes him dead with his ceremonial club.
His only comment, “He was insane. Now he is at peace.”
On making an attempt to watch a video of a recent gathering in Britain I was struck by this thought; that no actual ritual can survive passing through a mediated filtering intact. Not only will our understanding of it be broken, but any value it might have held risks being destroyed in the process.
If we give it a moment’s thought it becomes clear that this must be so.
A ritual is a vital conjunction of immediacy within cycles of continuity. It partakes of the heightened presence one feels within a sacred space and it connects us with all those who’ve come before within a tradition brought to life, to this moment, through ritual. This can only occur within a circle of profound sincerity.
The last post has brought us to the point of examining trust. This phrase, the currency of trust, appears to hold some promise.
Let’s begin with another word, seriousness. Serious, trust, compassion; these are among a suite of terms we fear today, or hide our fear behind disdain at their current condition and denatured meanings. Seriousness and sincerity have come to be two such terms much in need of a rehabilitation.
What is it to be serious?
This post is a departure for Horizons of Significance. Instead of an essay, this post is a poem.
There have been times when while writing fiction or essays, I’ve felt what was coming out might really be a narrative or expository poem instead.
Coming off the last post, which seems to have brought some sort of break in the train that preceded it, I thought I’d include this poem, written right after. In its own way it belongs here, at least I think so…. All of my poetry can be found here.
Intention, Sincerity and the Works of I
I’ve studied the meaning of “nature” for forty odd years. I took a class on it in 1972, when there were few such courses. I’ve been as confused over what it could possibly mean as anyone, caught between all the assumptions that have stuck to the term. Then in the first week of this year, reading Julian Bell’s What Is Painting?, I came across this simple definition.
“Nature… (is) that which was born.”
Once it was pointed out, the common root with natal, it was obvious. The relief at finding this clear simple meaning washed away any embarrassment over how long it took me to get here.
As, most recently, Paul Kingsnorth has delineated the twists and turns that took us from nature and natural to environment and ecological, stripping the term nature of all its baggage and starting fresh relieves the technical aura of the latter terms and restores a clear meaning to the former.