Barque: Thomas Moore Network

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"Every human life is a profound mystery. Deep and invisible currents make us who we are, and the world around us is full of secret intentions and laws. One response to all this mystery is to treat it as a problem to be solved and to do everything possible to be informed and in control. But another way is to bow down in ignorance and confess our limitations. " [p.xv]

These opening passages to The Soul’s Religion are touchstones along the road I trudge. I take them as imperatives to remain humble and open and at the same time resist the overly heroic tendency to think my way through this life, this world. I have sometimes been accused of being “too cerebral” (much to my chagrin) and have felt a reflexive defense in myself against this observation wanting to say, “I’m not going to dumb myself down for the comfort of others…”
This felt response serves as a signal flare reminding me that despite how justified I feel in the way I carry myself intellectually, I may indeed be too much in my head for the good of my heart…

"I want to be intelligent about mystery and not defend against it with excessive explanations and theories. At the same time I don’t want to slip into spiritual romanticism with a numb mind and an overactive heart. "

I take encouragement in Tom’s second paragraph with his intent to be sober about the sentimental attractions of spiritual pursuits & mysteries. I was once a member of an extreme charismatic evangelical (fundamentalist) Christian sect. In that prison and for want of my awakening to a mythopoetic appreciation of symbol & metaphor I suffered serious shadow invasions... In the end it felt like I barely escaped with my soul intact. Nevertheless I’m the better for having been taken to an edge of risk that helps draw boundaries on what I’m capable of surviving, spiritually speaking. I still sense the tugging of ghosts (sometimes I call it my ‘hangover’) from this awful time…

I also feel affirmed and empowered to surrender the investments of my previous proclivity towards what amounts to be the antithesis (date I say contempt) of John Keats’s wonderful articulation of negative capability, “I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.”

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Comment by Barque on March 12, 2009 at 11:37am
Thanks Fraser for clarifying my misunderstanding.
Is your own despair turning into liberating acceptance?
Comment by Barque on March 11, 2009 at 3:09pm
Hi Fraser,
I'm not sure why you'd call Moore's response despair. Maybe acceptance? Thinking too much seems a common activity among people who like Moore's work. Perhaps this is the backdrop to his admonition to lighten up. I share your interest in the earlier strains of Christianity: more sustenance for rumination.
Comment by Waking on March 5, 2009 at 6:56pm
I hope to progress through key passages in "The Soul's Religion" in future entries.
Provided that is I don't lose my momentum from a history of writer's inertia...

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