Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Forever in search of the Middle Way

I have grown a lot in this past year. I have combined my world of silence and solitude with the world of community, and in doing so I have found myself. I have learned to be alone without being lonely, and to be silent without being silenced. I have put my artistic talents to use, have constucted purpose, and have gained respect among colleagues and mentors. I have also found he who is both my doppelganger and my shadow, he who enrages me and dissatisfies me, but from whom I have learned a great deal about myself. He is a funhouse mirror, and when I look into him I see a distorted reflection of myself, and the values I once held. Knowing him has been a privledge, although one may not think so, judging by the many many argurments we have had throughout the past year. Furthermore, this past year has taught me a lot about my own drives, and the very nature of my own existence. I still believe strongly in the necessary function of reason; that is not something I could ever reject. But I have learned about the folly of Excess.

Reading Ovid's Metamorphoses reaquainted me with the Icarus myth. I had always heard of the myth, but never actually read it, and so I was surprised to find that the orders of Daedalus were not, "Do not fly too close to the sun", but rather:

"Take care to fly a middle course, lest if you should sink
Too low the waves may weight your feathers, if
Too high, the heat may burn them."

THUS the myth of Icarus was NOT about Pride. In fact, the concept of Pride is nowhere mentioned. The myth is a warning about Excess. Icarus was to take the Middle Way, between the emotional chaos of the sea and the burning heights of rationality. Overindulgence in either leads to madness, and death. And I was also surprised when, in my psychology and literature class, my professor made the same claim. It reinforced my ideas completely, and gave me the confidence to know that what I percieved was Truth, or at least an aspect of it. I had thought that one must make a choice between the emotional and the rational. I had thought the two were separate entities that could never be reconciled. My fear of the one led me too close to the other, and I Fell. I had never considered a balance, never contemplated the Middle Way, but this Death has brought about rebirth.

I am aware now. And I hope the more emotional mind can see the importance of reason, as I can see the importance of emotion.

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