Here are my favorite pictures of this summer’s trip to western parks, with a bit of commentary.
"Wake up, o sleeper." The Badlands.
Rainbow from the rocks in full sun. This and the next four photos taken in Shoshone National Forest.
When a desert dweller told of his spiritual disciplines and asked how he might further progress, Father Joseph replied "Why not be totally changed into fire?"
Evening Baroque. A Titian-esque landscape.
A remnant of creatures walking through these lands long before human stories about them.
Ancient watcher. Who is behind her?
We had planned to have breakfast in Red Lodge, MT but it was overtaken by hundreds of motorcyclists. So, a few miles from the town, heading back toward Yellowstone, we found this delightful spot to have our granola with instant milk.
Celebration of reaching the peak after a long, hard climb
Having had no previous idea of what was at Bryce, Ruka wept silently, in awe of its strange beauty
Outside of Zion National Park.
Alcoholism has long afflicted the Wilt side of my family, from at least my great-grandfather to those struggling with it today. Many of us have been able to observe first-hand how alcoholism and other addictions affect those close to the addicted as well as the addicts themselves. Fear, anger, pity, cover-up, and distancing are some responses to a loved one’s addiction. The family swings back and forth between attempts to intervene and resignation. A successful intervention will help the addict admit that there is a problem, often after a low point even by the addict’s standards—a fight, crime, or accident—and accept help for the healing process. My grandfather’s response to alcoholism in his family was to insist on total abstinence and, as far as I know, most perhaps all of his nine children followed his model, the addiction awaiting the next generation to resurface. This family history has led me to think of alcoholism as primarily a snare for a few individuals within a large family. But I have recently learned of “alcoholic families.” Both mother and father are heavy drinkers and the children grow up thinking that the intake—and the results—are the norm. Heavy drinking, hilarity, fights, irresponsibility, self-justification, and earning enough money for heavy drinking, hilarity, etc. are what life is all about. If it’s hard to help an individual struggling with alcoholism, how much harder to help a whole family!
There is another affliction that has been passed from generation to generation in the Wilt family: racism. I observed and replicated the symptoms as a child, thinking them to be a normal part of any family. I would retell my uncles’ and aunts’ n- jokes to friends at school and they would reciprocate with ones I could tell at the next family reunion. I would laugh along with my cousins when an uncle flourished his n-shooter. In high school, I would sing songs with racist lyrics—and wonder why some would not join in. It was not until my college years that friends and teachers confronted me directly enough that I could begin to see that I had a problem—that my family had a problem, an addiction, a generational disease. With the help of many who were further along in the healing process and with the help of those who had been targets of racism, I could begin to heal.
Relatives’ Facebook posts over the past few years, especially after widely reported events such as the mid-August ones in Charlottesville, indicate that this disease has not yet been eradicated from our family. The symptoms are now not as obvious as in the family-reunion examples given above. They are more like an alcoholic’s quiet sipping of lemonade at a church picnic, yearning for the spouse’s signal that they can go home—and begin opening the bottles of the hard stuff.
In the past, I have started to write responses to Facebook posts that are especially troubling in this regard but given up. How, I wondered, could I respond in a way that would go beyond an exchange of emotional blows, beyond defensiveness or denial to constructive, healing discussion? I am hoping that the comparison of alcoholism and racism might be a helpful beginning. If we recognize that alcoholism has been a generational problem, can we recognize that racism has been as well? If so, can we take the crucial first step in the healing process of admitting that there is a problem? For many of us, “admitting” can be recast in stronger terms in keeping with our religious upbringing: confessing (verbal communication to others) and repenting (behavioral change, involving “turning away from” the destructive behavior).
To encourage dealing with this problem, I will suggest some symptoms of racism. Just as shaky hands are not necessarily a symptom of alcoholism, some features listed here might not necessarily be a symptom of racism. But as shaky hands combined with other symptoms such as dehydration, anxiety, irritability, and yearning for the next drink increase the likelihood that alcoholism is at play, so too the combination of factors listed below increase the likelihood that racism is at play.
How willing are we to admit that racism in our family has contributed to symptoms such as the above? Can we develop a dialogue about this? Can we at least “admit there is a problem”?
I am not restricting this to descendants of the Paul Wilt clan since there are certainly many other families who suffer from generational racism. I hope that this post may be a first or further step in the healing process.
While writing this post, I tried to find other literature comparing alcoholism and racism. There is much on how the one can contribute to the other, but I have so far found only one book that focuses on how racism is analogous to alcoholism: Applying Alcoholics Anonymous Principles to the Disease of Racism by Rev. Kenneth L. Radcliffe, “an Administrative Chaplain, (Retired), for the New York City Department of Correction. His assignments included Rikers Island, detention centers, in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan Detention Center, MDC, also known as "The Tombs" He is a trained Substance Abuse/Addictions counselor. He has worked as a Case Manager in a Homeless Shelter, and conducted relapse prevention programs for licensed outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs.”
After a long day of bicycling, I missed a turn and spent an hour or so getting back on route as the sun set. The area was too developed to find a campsite in unfenced, unposted woods, but just before dark a large church with acres of manicured lawn appeared as a place of refuge for the weary traveler. Behind it, my one-person tent would be hidden from view and I would be packed and off at dawn. A few cars were parked in front so I stood at their locked glass doors and knocked. And knocked, waiting for someone to come from the well-lit room a few feet on the other side. Finally, a woman came, opened the door a crack and listened as I summarize my trip in a couple sentences and asked if I might "set up my tent behind the church for the night.” She answered, “Well, I don’t see why not, but let me check.” A few minutes later a woman, with mop in hand and the look of a Levite whose temple duties had been interrupted by an unclean intruder, came to the door. She opened it a crack, said “I’m sorry but you may not set up your tent behind the church for the night,” immediately closed the door, and went back to cleansing her church. To her credit, she had quoted my words to the first woman as faithfully as ancient scribes had transmitted biblical texts, whether about the wages of sin or caring for the wandering homeless.
It was 97° when I biked through the southern edge of Manchester, New Hampshire. I needed to camp soon but I had not yet gotten beyond the developed properties on the northern side. The road was narrow but the cars on it were far from few, speeding home from work in the city. I labored on the edge of the road, sweaty, exhausted, beaten by the heat. Having topped a hill in a small town’s center, I moved away from a guy by his pickup as I started to coast down.
“… the night?” What? I looked back. “Are you set for the night?” he called out. I braked and he came toward me. “You need a place to stay?” He had been returning from a visit with his mother in the nursing home when he saw me on the side of the road. An avid cyclist, he was a member of Warm Showers, “a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists” and was now offering some of that hospitality to me. Like the beaten traveler loaded onto the back of the Good Samaritan’s donkey, my bike was loaded onto the back of his pickup. Although I had no wounds to be bandaged, my sweaty clothes surely smelled as if I did; to my apology, he replied “I’ve been there.”
His home was just a couple miles from my route, reached via an unlined paved road then a dirt road and driveway through frontage trees. He and his wife had built the home back in the 70’s and expanded it for their children. I would have the children’s side all to myself. After showing me where to get food and do laundry, he went to do garden work in the last minutes of evening light.
He returned as I was finishing his homemade soup and bread. He made lots of bread. He had found that taking a loaf of homemade bread facilitated communion with others in “just wanted to see how you were doing” house visits. We talked for some time. When it came to previous work, he smiled at my being a consultant for Bible translators as he might have if I’d said I was a used-car dealer and he asked no follow-up questions. Later on, he did express enthusiasm for the idea of travel through time to other worlds that I told him I experienced when reading ancient texts in other languages. He spoke of his joy in small-town community involvement, local friendships developed over decades, carpentry, and gardening.
So, "Who was a neighbor to the man" on the bike?
Yes, "The one who showed mercy to him.” I agree but remain more like the levite than the good samaritan in responding to the divine command “Go and do likewise.”
This morning, the blueberry harvest was plentiful but the workers were few. Indeed I alone was picking them, putting most in a bowl but eating some. Their good taste encouraged me to question a common interpretation of the ancient saying about harvest and workers that had come to mind. I was taught that the harvest was the “unsaved” and the workers were missionaries. I believe there were banners to this effect in my college years and workers were few since people resisted the altar calls during “special meetings” in the chapel, favoring instead meetings in off-campus bars.
But the harvest is good! As the psalmist says about the earth yielding a harvest, “Yahweh gives what is good!” Maybe Jesus was encouraging the disciples to go out and harvest not for the sake of “the lost” but for the sake of themselves. Get up and go to “the harassed and helpless” rather than sitting in the synagogue or clinging to my robe and realize that in interacting with those outside your religious circle you will find goodness!
This is my response to friend Don's "The Dearth of Souls," posted earlier today on this blog site.
There is indeed an increasing dearth of souls, lexically if not metaphysically: the frequency of this word in its plural form is about a third of what it was 150 years ago and in its singular form less than a fourth. It looked like the word was heading for extinction, with ever decreasing use through the 1960’s. But there has been a slight increase since then thanks to expressions such as soul music, soul food, and soul mates. In this revival, soul is used as a modifier of another noun, a structure that was very rare before the 1960’s. Its use in such expressions seems to be in keeping with your preference to “use the soul…as a style and not a content.”
The contemporary dearth of soul is not only in secular literature. In the King James Bible, completed in 1611, soul occurs 132 times in the book of Psalms. This is reduced to 74 occurrences in the mid-20th century, scholarly revision that “preserves those qualities which have given to the King James Version (KJV) a supreme place in English literature." Later translations, concerned with using contemporary English more than echoing the KJV, reduced or eliminated the use of soul in the Psalms: 12 occurrences in the Living Bible and Good News Translation, 9 in the Holman translation, and only one in the Common English Bible (Psalm 42) and Contemporary English Version (Psalm 143). I never use it in my translation Praise.
Ms. Jayde(-d?) might cite all this in support of her claim that “there aren’t any souls in the world anymore”—or at least soon won’t be—that the souls of modern speech are fading echoes of ancient creeds.
What replaces the biblical soul? In the more modern translations, it is usually a pronoun: “my soul is sore vexed” becomes “I am in deep distress.” To the modern ear, my soul may sound like my cow, something to be—as you put it—lost, sold or “taken care of in some barn away from one’s house.” The I is better in this respect. It cannot be possessed grammatically: no my I or her she. I or she is less “ethereal” than Mr. J’s spirit, in that it is a pointing word (a deictic). When we use I and you, we are always pointing at someone with a “curl or lobe of ear” who “can be touched with one’s fingertips.” Or, as the conservative New International Version indicates, someone with a neck:
KJV: Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. (Psalm 69)
NIV: Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.
KJV: [Joseph’s] feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron. (Psalm 105)
NIV: They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons.
The words in bold are translating the Hebrew “possessive pronoun + nefesh”. As indicated in the lines from Psalm 105, even the KJV translators realized they had to render this expression more concretely in certain contexts: “his soul was laid in iron” would be pushing too far its preference for spiritualizing the psalmists’ texts. And some of that venerable KJV group must have grimaced at the philosophical if not poetic awkwardness of “water com[ing] in unto my soul”—of concrete, tangible material coming in to abstract, intangible essence.
Nefesh is used in biblical texts to refer to the part of the body which connects the mouth to the lungs and stomach. The focus might be on the outside of this structure, as in the above verses, or on the inside—the throat. The nefesh expands to swallow while eating with great appetite (Isaiah 5), feels thirst (Psalm 107) and can be clogged up by dust (Psalm 44). The throat as passageway of air gives the extended sense of nefesh as the action of breathing or breath: the prophet Elijah prayed that the nefesh return to a widow’s deceased son—that his breath return. The Deuteronomist used the expression “heart and throat” to refer to complete commitment: “You are to love your divinity YHWH with all your heart and all your throat”; that is, every thought (the heart being the organ of intellect) and every breath should support your commitment to YHWH. In the creation accounts, animals and humans were distinguished from plants by their life-enabling breath.
Nefesh is often used as a synecdoche, a part representing the whole. “All the nefeshes—all the breathing throats—in one’s household” refers to all those who have breathing throats—all the members, all the people. But the KJV, followed by many modern versions reversed the direction of the synecdoche. Rather than having a part stand for the whole, they have translated references to the whole (a person, humans) by referring to a part and transformed ancient Hebrew texts into platonic ones by referring to that part as a soul.
I still think of myself as having a soul, understanding it in terms of a wide—and perhaps confusing—array of philosophical and religious texts and Christian hymns. But I agree that it is helpful to think of it as “under the stove”—the warm breath supporting the thinking brain and feeling guts.
Observations about the frequency of soul are based on analysis of Brigham Young’s Corpus of American Historical English and Corpus of Contemporary American English.
Another trend suggested by these databases is to use soul to refer to negative or inessential, finite aspects of character. Human soul occurred five times more frequently in the 2nd half of the 1800’s as it did in the last two decades, good soul and noble soul ten times more, inmost soul over one hundred times more. In [Adjective + soul] expressions that do occur more frequently now than in earlier decades, the adjective tends to have a negative reference: e.g. lost, damned, and unfortunate modify soul more often now than they did decades ago. American too might be grouped with these modifiers since it tends to modify soul in negative contexts: for example, “dark corners of the American soul,” the haunted American soul,” and quotes of D. H. Lawrence’s ”The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.”
The Sound of Music was the first musical in English that my wife saw on video and grew to love as we would watch and rewatch it with our young children. Last night, we attended a wonderful performance of it at the Nashville TPAC. Completely taken in by the staging, choreography, and singing, we were all the more moved by the final scenes' portrayal of the pressure to accept the Nazi regime & the Captain’s resistance. In a song not in the movie, the opportunist Max and luxury-lover Elsa sing “No Way to Stop It.” “It” refers to Nazism or any aspect of oppression that does not interfere with one’s own comfortable lifestyle. The song concludes that this lifestyle is centered on “I” rather than “we” (and, by implication, “us” versus “them”). Little did we suspect when watching the movie with our young children that Ruka’s new country of citizenship would, 25 years later, have a president supporting neo-Nazism.
To what degree will we sing "There's no way to stop it"? To what degree will we resist? The title of my website indicates an interest in transcending divisions. But when I see the posts of Facebook "friends"--including relatives--with posts indicating their love of Jesus, racism & nationalism, I wonder if transcendence of these divisions is possible.
One little step I have taken is sending the following to TN's Senator Bob Corker, chair of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee:
I am an independent voter. I trust you are well informed about how the Nazi movement gained power in Germany, including passive support of churches and opportunism of politicians. I hope you will have the courage to resist this in our own country, now. I see no news item on your site indicating that you were appalled--or at least disappointed!--by Trump's press conference but am glad to see that you are at least "pushing President Trump for answers on Russia contacts."
There’s a lot to love about hiking the Appalachian Trail and I’ve indicated some of it in past posts, in harmony with thousands of others’ write-ups. But there’s also something deeply troubling: an absence.
I hiked five hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail this summer. On the trail, at evening campsites, or in small-town hostels, resupply stores or post offices, I saw hundreds of other backpackers. None of these were black. Of the hundreds of day hikers that I met, no more than five were black: only two were adults; the youth were in groups of mostly white kids.
One of the two adults was hiking with a white person. We walked together several miles on a
gorgeous sunny day in the low 70’s with soul-refreshing overlooks of the Shenandoah Valley. After having coffee at the Skyland patio, the young black woman said she greatly enjoyed hiking and, living only fifty miles away, would like to come here more often. “But, I would be afraid to come here on my own.”
“I would be afraid to come here on my own.” (Stony Man Cliffs, Shenandoah National Park)
The fear would not be of the area’s bears or snakes. But rather of those with a history of behavior more vicious than bears’ and with a poison more deadly than snakes’. Many of us had hoped if not believed that this danger had been diminishing over the past decades. But as a ruptured pipe allowing coal ash to surge into the Dan River dramatized the pollution that Alpha Natural Resources (what a euphemism!) and others had been spreading through the Appalachian waterways for years, so too the moral coal ash that burst out in the recent campaign and election has led us to see the degree to which racism along with other forms of hatred and intolerance have been polluting our land.
Of course, the history of such pollution goes way back.
We who extol the joy and wonder of being in the woods might view the Transcendentalists as our American forbearers. The blogs of today’s backpackers frequently echo words like these, written two centuries ago:
In the woods is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in
life, -- no disgrace, no calamity…which nature cannot repair.
The wealthy white Emerson, on friendly terms with neighboring landowners whether human or divine, could enjoy Sunday afternoon visits to the plantations of God. “Nothing can befall me in life.” What confidence, what security!
But one bound to the plantations of men had a quite different view of the woods. For Frederick Douglas, Emerson’s contemporary, the woods was a place to be “overtaken, and torn to pieces by the fangs of the terrible bloodhound…stung by scorpions, chased by wild beasts, bitten by snakes, and finally, after having nearly reached the desired spot,—after swimming rivers, encountering wild beasts, sleeping in the woods, suffering hunger and nakedness,—…overtaken by our pursuers, and…shot dead upon the spot!”
While the prosperous Thoreau “went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life,” the ex-slave Douglas challenged his readers to go to “the deep pine woods” to consider the “soul-killing effects of slavery” reflected in the songs that could be heard there when slaves were passing through: “the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do.”
The legacy is still evident today: in absence. My internet search for articles or blogs about African Americans who have hiked the Appalachian Trail yielded only one result. A 2000 Backpacker article reports on Robert Taylor, “the first African American to thru-hike both the Appalachian (AT) and Pacific Crest Trails (PCT).” He tells of physical trials on the PCT but on the AT “My problems were mainly with people. In towns, people yelled racist threats in just about every state I went through… Even on the trail itself, other AT hikers acted like I was going to steal their gear.” A blogger listed “7 Women who Made History on the Appalachian Trail” and then “7 more…” None of these was black. In 2011, a Los Angeles Times article reports, a Yosemite park official estimated that less than one percent of Yosemite’s visitors are black; the percentage of those who do overnight hikes there would probably be far smaller. The article quotes a 92-year old African-American woman on a bus tour there: “"This is as close to heaven as we're likely to get in this life. [I always viewed Yosemite as] a country club for white folks… I never felt that I fit into Yosemite's design. I never saw [photographs of] people who looked like me [there]." Absence.
I learned of the Times article by reading Backpacker.com’s “Heroes” column on Rue Mapp, founder of the organization Outdoor Afro that “celebrates and inspires African American connections and leadership in nature.” Chapters around the country work “for inclusion in outdoor recreation, nature, and conservation for all.” The Backpacker article concludes “Mapp knows that her quest won’t be over any time soon. For many African Americans, the woods once seemed like a threatening place and still can feel foreign and unwelcoming. ‘I’m in the business of culture shift,’ she says. ‘I’ll know I’ve been successful when I’m on a backcountry trail, and I see another African American, and it’s no big deal.’”
*or 25 : )
Let’s hope we see more African Americans feel on top of the world in places such as here in Grayson Highlands State Park.
Five years ago, I bicycled across the country (http://timsbiketrip.blogspot.com/). I enjoyed the solitude and freedom of biking solo. But I also imagined a future trip shared with others: days of biking fairly independently and evenings of chautauquas; solitary observations and reflections on the road and communal nourishment of body, mind, and soul in the camp.
The final destination of my solo bike trip was the wedding venue of cousin T in Oregon. A couple days ago, she wrote a letter which reminded me of my dream of communal biking—or hiking:
I've been having an interesting existential midlife crisis this past year. I think it's being on the other side of motherhood, quickly approaching 40, and feeling like I'm not using my full potential in my career. [My husband and son] fill me with immense joy and deep, deep, gratitude. But outside of those two loves, there are question marks.
And then the election happened. And like almost everyone I know, it has leveled me. Knowing how crushing it has been for me, I find it impossible to imagine how it has felt for your family. It brings me to tears, over and over, thinking about it.
I've been at my job for ten years and it sometimes feels stifling. However, those many years have helped me accrue a nice amount of yearly vacation. So I've decided to dedicate this year to making the most of those days, knowing I may change careers at some point.
You know where I'm going with this, right? My heart needs healing. And I can't imagine anything more healing than being in the woods, on the trail, with some of the…people…I am lucky to call family. I just keep coming back to this dream lately. Right now, when things hurt the most and feel the most confusing, I'm craving those family talks about everything and nothing, silence and laughter, sleeping on the ground, no showers, and reconnecting.
I'm not sure if this is logistically possible for anyone in the family and I'm not sure if you were planning to go back on the trail this summer, but I wanted to put it out there. Any thoughts? Any interest? I was thinking I could go for 4-5 days. It would be just me, because [my son’s] hikes sometimes involve picking flowers and rocks for hours, and not making it more than a few feet. (Which is wonderful and needed sometimes). Feel free to share this letter with any of the family, if you'd like to fish for interest.
Sending you guys love, hugs, and support.
Relatives of T and me: Email us if you would like to go on an outing of this type. Here are some possibilities:
This lily reminded me of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem and of its encouragement for us freckle-faces to view our markings not as blemishes but as one of many “things counter…strange” whose source is from the one “whose beauty is past change.”
Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swíft, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dím;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
This guest post is by my good friend Don Volent, whose letters, journal entries, and conversations have encouraged, challenged, and delighted me for many years. Thanks, Don!
I was first introduced to the practice of Lectio Divina in the autumn of 1976, though I didn’t know it at the time. The initiation was given as an assignment by the Reverend Albert A. Cardoni, S. J. at Fairfield University in his Medieval Philosophy course of that term. The thirty students of this class were each given a single mimeographed sheet (blue inked sheets, the midcentury version of the photocopy) of only three paragraphs taken from the fifth question of the first part of St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica entitled The General Notion of the Good. We were told to fold this sheet into eighths and to pocket it.
“You are to live with these three paragraphs for the next three months until the eve of Advent. If I see you on campus, I will ask you to fish it out for me. Like the peripatetic philosopher Aristotle, I want you to pace with it so that even your muscles and the blood that courses through your veins will question with you what these three paragraphs mean and where they can take you. Speak the words out loud inside your rooms and outside beneath sun and moonlight, because these shall be words that are with, with the being of things, with the sound of your pacing on the sidewalks of this university and with the way the autumn leaves –which you will soon see- blow across the open spaces between your dorms.”
Diligent student that I was, I listened to the man. From the afternoon of that class until the eve of Advent I lived with those three paragraphs. I paced with them on the sidewalks of the university and, just as Father Cardoni predicted, I saw the yellow aspen leaves swirling at my feet and gusting across the open space. “A thing is good insofar as it exists.” The words have stayed with me to this day. “Being is good! Shout it from the rooftops!” And God is the fertility of the Actual, the heart that beats in the what is. And the words were seeds, go figure, if one stays with them long enough to see that they actually germinate, break through the soil, peeking, seeking light, drinking in, nourishment, space, fertility, song.
Twenty years after this initiation I came across Luke Dysinger’s 1996 translation of The Rule of Saint Benedict and there, within the introduction, I found the description of the practice that Father Cardoni had introduced me to: Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”). Mr. Luke speaks of the “art of lectio divina” as beginning with “cultivating the ability to listen deeply, to hear ‘with the ear of our hearts’ as St. Benedict writes in the Prologue to the Rule.” To listen. To listen deeply. To listen with the heart (the heart that has moved into the mind, the mind that has moved into the heart). To everything. To the sound of the man sweeping under the lintel of his shop. To the sound of a woman talking about a farmer’s porch. Mr. Luke further says “The reading or listening which is the first step in lectio divina is very different from the speed-reading” which we “apply to newspapers, books, and even to the Bible.” Yes, to slow the mind down from its dizzying whirl. This, too, I learned from Father Cardoni’s assignment, and which was further corroborated by the feeling of depth I felt once while, oddly, reading a passage from the writings of Thomas Merton that I happened to disagree with. But whence the depth? From the slowing down, from the staying with.
Mr. Luke, that fine friend of mine, also shed light, etymologically, on our “information” age, and, quite simply, it’s not. ‘Information,’ etymologically, points at a staying with something long enough for it to be formed in us (in formed, formed in), which is seed, germination, living with. But this is quite different to the norm of data surfing (surfacing) that we do nowadays, enticed by span to the detriment of depth. In fact, it seems like a variation of the canary in the coal mine that, when using the word ‘depth’ recently, in a conversation with a young 30’s gentleman, I was told that the word was pretty much an anachronism in the current age of expansive networking. Span versus depth? But why not span and depth, balanced? Which is to say, mustn’t our breathing out be balanced with our breathing in?
Trails we follow,