all severe, and not saying a word

Sometimes you work your way towards knowledge. Most of the time this involves a lot of work. You have to read, learn, contemplate, experience, review, consider, test, develop, question and so on until you have refined your ideas and thoughts into a pristine object carved by hand from a stone of thought.

But other times, knowledge falls into your lap. You might just be sitting there watching Chow Yun Fat shoot up a car wash on film when your friend drops a little black book into your lap that he was given by an old man at a second hand book store, where you trace through the pages until a passage grabs you by the throat and belts you across the face with enough resolve to send your mind into a frenzy.

Narcissus fell in love with his image, taking it to be another.

Jack falls in love with Jill’s image of Jack, taking it to be himself.
She must not die, because then he would lose himself.
He is jealous in case any one else’s image is reflected in her mirror.

Jill is a distorting mirror to herself.
Jill has to distort herself to appear undistorted to herself.

To undistort herself, she finds Jack to distort her distorted image in his distorting mirror
She hopes that his distortion of her distortion may undistort her image without her having to distort herself.

Knots, R.D. Laing (1970)

I was struck by several other passages in the little black book, but none so sternly as this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.