I read Emmanuel Levinas today. He suggested we experience phenomena in sensual immediacy. There is no recapturing the full essence in words. Humans are blessed with words which transform what we experience into something less or something other than its essence.
I attended a meeting the other night and another person commented when we name something it creates a permanency and assumes characteristics according to categories. In a way, the experience become inert.
Dana Gioia points out words’ shortcomings. This is not positive or negative, but is about awareness. When entering into each moment, it is important to fully experience that very moment which is indescribable. The world is filled with wonder and is thus wonderful. We recall that nature, living and non-living, needs no verbal praise. Our relationships and living in the world we co-inhabit are praise the praise. We need not summon airy words, but can sink into the living world’s sensuality. Sabbath provides opportunities for silence, deeper exploring, and the praise we offer without words.
The world does not need words. It articulates itself
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows. The stones on the path
are no less real for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.
The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being.
The kiss is still fully itself though no words were spoken.
And one word transforms it into something less or other—
illicit, chaste, perfunctory, conjugal, covert.
Even calling it a kiss betrays the fluster of hands
glancing the skin or gripping a shoulder, the slow
arching of neck or knee, the silent touching of tongues.
Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot
name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.
To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper—
metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa
carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.
The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,
painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving
each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.
The daylight needs no praise, and so we praise it always—
greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.