Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Reason the Darkness Grows

A passage I really like, from Chapman: Odysseus, after some brutally bad luck (his crew keeps landing on islands, exploring them, and getting eaten by the inhabitants) lands on yet another unknown island. He makes a coach's Big Game Day speech to his dudes about the necessity of doing the very thing that's brought them nothing but misfortune and death:

... Now, friends,
Afford unpassionate ear; though ill fate lends
So good cause to your passion, no man knows
The reason whence and how the darkness grows;
The reason how the morn is thus begun;
The reason how the man-enlight'ning sun
Dives under earth; the reason how again
He rears his golden head. Those counsels, then,
That pass our comprehension, we must leave
To him that knows their causes, and receive
Direction from him in our acts, as far
As he shall please to make them regular,
And stoop them to our reason. In our state
What then behooves us? Can we estimate,
With all our counsels, where we are? Or know
(Without instruction, past our own skills) how,
Put off from hence, to steer our course the more?
I think we cannot. We must then explore..."

Translation: There's a lot we don't and can't know. And much we can't control. The way forward is risky. So what are we going to do, nothing? Guess? No. We have to explore.

Many moments for us are like this one on Circe's mad island: brought by forces we can't fully understand to where guesswork simply won't suffice. The only way forward is to experiment, try to figure stuff out.

We have to drive into the dangerous heart of it and see what happens, hope for the best.

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