I have for many years belonged to a fine literary group. At present we are working our way through poems and plays of T.S. Eliot.
Last night we met and had an exceptionally fruitful meeting (and fine meal afterward!) on the first section of The Four Quartets: "Burnt Norton".
While the poet is really talking about some else, I thought this section could be applied to what I see as a rapid breakdown in our society of true interpersonal communication. One of the corrosive influences may be the whole SMS, Facebook, Twitter phenomenon… social networking tools.
Don’t get me wrong.
I think these can be used well, effectively and in a healthy way.
But they can be dangerous.
Think about that as you read this section of "Burnt Norton" by T.S. Eliot. It would actually be better to read all of Burnt Norton, so as to get the flow of his thought, especially the point about the still point… but keep going…
Read it aloud:
Here is a place of disaffection
Time before and time after
In a dim light: neither daylight
Investing form with lucid stillness
Turning shadow into transient beauty
With slow rotation suggesting permanence
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plenitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time,
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.
Eructation of unhealthy souls
Into the faded air, the torpid
Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,
Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,
Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.
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