By Chokri Omri
By Chokri Omri
Morocco World News
Tunis, July 31, 2013
The sacred texts, the ancient traditions and all philosophies of all ages tell us to look at and learn from Nature, its beauty and its cycles, and to the ephemeral and eternity. We know that we love, naturally, but they still teach us to love better, to love consciously and spiritually, and to learn to apprehend meaning in detachment. And we have to choose between the reserve of Kant and Nietzsche’s impetuosity, between the way of Buddha and that of Dionysus, between the love of God and the love of Desire. Between an idea of freedom and the management of needs, between independence and dependence, and between detachment and bondage. One does not choose to love but one can choose how to love. Tariq Ramadan, love and detachment
It was not long ago that this was cropping up in my mind. But in truth,I did not want it to be or at best to end this way. It is not the kind of thing, I wish to make clear, I would accept in this life that is mine. I tried many a time to take it at once for an indecent idea because it is, indeed, one and by no means a decent one: To wait for others to offer you that which, had you worked upon it yourself, you would have made it come into being without their help. This is not so difficult a task to move through towards the light instead of remaining in the dark waiting and nobody around appears to care. It is just, I must say, within the limits of the possible to have your mind made up to it without any impalpability. But then, let me say it no more.
I take responsibility for all of this and you take none. I have something to say to you while you have none. It has never before come to my notice that I know so little of you. I have wanted to come closer to you, to be with you, to see you, and then to stop listening to what others say about me and you. Take all the time you need but never ask me what difference there can be between wanting and obtaining. It is my conviction that of all those upon whom the sun shines, only those who help themselves will yearn for being helped.
In the meantime, were anyone to take the liberty of asking me who would come to their help, I would perhaps say it is not any concern of mine. They are helping themselves. Do you not at all understand? They are helping themselves. God help them, please, and they are really helping themselves. They are not to be left wanting. They are looking for a way out of this extremely painful universe where things come and go and people never know. Have I said it to you? No. Then, have I wanted to say it to you? No. But then, have I gleaned it out of nothing just to say it to you? No.I think I will let you know. There came few tears to my eyes when I saw that the reason behind this all is past finding out. It is my dignity that prevents me from knowing why. But at the same time, it is that which guides me into saying this to you: Never come back to me. I am not waiting for the unknown to be known. I am not waiting anymore. My way is still long; I am going to be the man who never trifles with time. I will say after Friederich Hölderlin:
“Let us live, oh you who are with me in sorrow, with me in faith
and heart and loyalty struggling for better times!
For such we are and if ever in the coming years they knew
of us two when the spirit matters again
They would say: lovers in those days, alone, they created
Their secret world that only God knew. For who
Cares only for things that will die, the earth will have them,
but Near the light, into the clarities come
Those keeping faith with the heart’s love and Holy Spirit who were
Hopeful, patient, still, and got the better of fate.”
They “got the better of fate.” It is not so beyond human understanding. They have never found themselves in a way in which they take advantage of others.There is this presence in their lives of what one calls faith. Faith in everything that bodes and portends with life, faith in human nature as far as it can really go, faith in all that is holy and divine the paucity of which generates as much pain and contrition as such that might be grasped in those who lost accordingly faith in themselves. There is no possible reason for them to do otherwise, because they have succeeded in making radical distinctions between what is essential and what is trivial. Of course, to say la moindre des choses,there is yet another significant aspect that must be attributed to their lives. By this, I mean hard work. Faith and hard work when compacted will undoubtedly have their effect and meaning. Hard work, arduousness but also industry; these are things we should not cast out into oblivion if ever real life is to us a worthy endeavour. We all need to struggle for better times. Let us help ourselves for the sake of ourselves and hence for the sake of God.
“Love is often presented as the opposite of fear but true love is not opposite anything. True love is far more powerful than any negative emotions, as it is the environment in which all things arise. Negative emotions are like sharks swimming in the ocean of love. All things beautiful and fearful, ugly and kind, powerful and small, come into existence, do their thing, and disappear within the context of this great ocean. At the same time, they are made of the very love in which they swim and can never be separated. We are made of this love and live our whole lives at one with it, whether we know it or not.” (Madisyn Taylor). Courage still resides in our hearts. Courage and temperance are fundamental human attributes that must be at any cost foisted upon us. Agathy is never absent. It is never lost for fear.
We are agathious from creation to the general doom. We only do not seem to be aware of that because of the film of familiarity which obscures from us the wonder of our being as Percy Bysshe Shelley would put it. There aremany rips in our lives. What do we do vis- à- vis them? It is really up to us to decide whether or not they are going to be mended. Or are they to be left unmended? It is up to us to mend these rips and walk through them to the light or remain forever in the dark. There is more enterprise in striving to repair some of the erroneous things in the world rather than to clench our hands over our foreheads and then foolishly shed tears over them.
Let us make a terrestrial galaxy as the stars do in the sky. To put it, in short, and in as a few words as possible, let us create our secret world because the outside world is not doing very well. Why cannot we stop caring for the material and the sensual? Why cannot we stop caring for the things that will die? Let us feel for the spiritual. There is still much hope since, as I like to think and would like to put it, we have not learned enough despair so as not to hope. Despair and hope do not cause us to be ridiculous.
To work arduously and then yearn for a better future is not to be found cloistered within the boundaries of idealism. It is altogether apparent the fact that our minds and hearts, for the time being, are not unfortunately set on the same arena of expectation. Our lives, to say perhaps the least, are shrouded in obscurity and by way of consequence not agood number of things are made clear.We are persistently catering for indeterminacy and eclecticism while being morceled and devoured by doubt or precisely nous sommes pris dans les supputations du doute as they say in french. Under the spell and delusion of amorality which contains a heavy dose of immorality we are celebrating the spirit of the age. Many are those who are coming in but few are those who feel like going out.
Look at how the world’s poor people are amazed At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gazed,Infusing them with dreadful prophecies. Willam Shakespeare
Should we thus draw up our breath at these sad signs, and sigh again and exclaim on death? When the spirit starts mattering again, few, indeed, are those who will understand. After all, we have no one to blame and reprimand for this except ourselves. There are things of importance left behind which must operate again as they had done in the remote passing days. It is Eros, we believe, and not Priapos, we still believe, who wanted to move no further after the objective he gave his life to. It is his “restless expansive tendency” towards love as Sigmund Freud had put it which comes into sharp contrast and opposition with the “generally conservative nature of the drives” causing it hence to be threatened all the time.
But then, Eros is inaccessible to those who lack love as well as spiritual insight. He is inaccessible to the profanum vulgus. “ Only he who himself turns to the other human being and opens himself to him receives the world in him. Only the being whose otherness, accepted by my being, lives and faces me in the whole compression of existence, brings the radiance of eternity to me”.
Martin Buber is ultimately clear enough to be understood. When Adonis lived, it is not the sun and the sharp air which lurked like two thieves to rob him of his fair as Shakespeare maintained. Adonis does not blame it for the destiny. He must be held responsible for the loss of Cytherea. She was all in love forlorn. Had he loved her with a love so over-powering as she did, no sun,no sharp air, no whatever would have deprived him of her. It is love, say mutual love or any other , which alone brings things together.
It is that which,I must say again, brings people together and makes an extraordinary galaxy out of them. We must struggle for the sake of it and stand in no comformity with their vulgarism and disparaging gestures. Most of all, we must put under question and not merely cleave to the values established by tradition. Patterned thinking will lead almost nowhere. Only by straying afield of our selves and of tradition innovation and accuracy as regards our lives will become possible.This is to be evidenced not only in ourselves but equally in the kind of knowledge we unfailingly continue to receive and accept without checking or verification.
Michel Foucault’s prolific work in sociology but then in philosophy would not find the means and ploys to open up new avenues of research and enquiry in history and the social sciences if it remained imprisoned by tradition and atavism. Foucault’s sociological and philosophical output, Steven Connor makes clear, refused to stay within the established and precomprehended territories of theory and thereby succeeded remarkeably in adding and contributing to the over all human knowledge.
‘After all, what would be the value of the passion of knowledge if it resulted in a certainamount of knowledgeableness, and not, in one way or another and to the extent possible, in the knower’s straying afield of himself?’ Foucault would remind us in his essay on ‘ The use of pleasure’.‘The passion of knowledge’; It is interesting to see in it this astounding interaction and intermingling of both heart and mind. Passion with regard to knowledge. What offspring will there be if this passion of knowledge revamps into a love of knowledge? Let us think about love and feel it henceforth. To love means to act and not to just say empty words that would add more horror to life.
Call it as you like but love is more than what people think. There is, this is it, more to love than what many people think. It is the most important thing in life. To love, J.Krishnamurti wrote, means to be sensitive. To be sensitive is to feel for people,for birds, for flowers, for trees_ not because they are ours, but just because we are awake to the extraordinary beauty of things. We are awake through love and knowledge and not through ignorance and fear.
Photo by Yassine Abouyaala
Chokri Omri was born in 1985. He is a teacher of English, poet and writer from Tunisia. A number of his poems and articles, both Arabic and English, have been translated into Spanish and Romanian and published in Contemporary literary Horizon Magazine, The Exhibitionist and The Tunis Times
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy