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Day 76

Joan Miro: I can't stop thinking about him, the abstract artist who aimed to reveal the inner stillness of things.

"[Stillness] strikes me. This bottle, this glass, a big stone on a deserted beach — these are motionless things, but they set loose great movements in my mind… People who go bathing on a beach and who move about, touch me much less than the [stillness] of a pebble. (Motionless things become grand, much grander than moving things.)... It is, as Kant said, the immediate irruption of the infinite in the finite."

He wanted to find this stillness in everything: "For me an object is alive; this cigarette, this matchbox, contain a secret life much more intense than certain humans. I see a tree, I get a shock, as if it were something breathing, talking. A tree too is something human."

He called it stillness. I call it sanctity: the inner unreachable inside every living thing: the pulse of life which cannot be named, can only be signified by a stroke of color, a globular symbol, the kind which rounds itself in infinite vitality.

This stillness animates the pebble, but it is also animates you. It is why you have always felt alone, especially when you risk exposure to life's rich and fast-unfolding beauty (excessive beauty must always be born alone, and this feels risky for our wholeness-hunger). No one can quite name the color and curves of you, no one can parse the shadows from the light, can label you into fully explicity. Love attempts this task in a gentler way. Without labeling, it accepts. Acceptance sits with this mysterious stillness and lets it be (the solitudes protecting one another).

But to penetrate the stillness requires symbol, requires ritual. For lovers, the ritual is sex. This is why each culture has treated sex as a burning bush, to be approached with fear and trembling. Society's boundaries are constructed not out of prudishness, but out of fear that a ritual gone-wrong could compromise the sanctity of the inner life. Sex signifies (and even effects) what cannot be said or effected with language: the breaking of the inner sanctum, the union of the parts which teem beneath two consciousness, untouched and unsaid by language, but embodied through physical intimacy.

We live and move and have our being through symbols, and if we cease to speak symbolically, then we cease to respect the infinite beauty of the inner human being, that stillness which speaks.


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