sum eleven – 3/19/14

Eleventh weekly sum of daily notes, in the run-up to Silence: 2014, a cross-border artistic witness. See the Soulographie site (soulographie dot org) for the day-to-day.


Silence: December 2014.


Artists worldwide to practice silence through the month as they will, in different ways, to deepen global contemplative capacity cross-culturally, and demonstrate mass solidarity.




Ngugi wa Thiong’o:

Drama in pre-colonial Kenya was not, then, an isolated event: it was part and parcel of the rhythm of daily and seasonal life in the community It was an activity among other activities, often drawing its energy form those other activities. It was also entertainment in the sense of involved enjoyment; it was moral instruction; and it was also a strict matter of life and death and communal survival. This drama was not performed in special buildings set aside for the purpose. It could take place anywhere – wherever there was an “empty space”, to borrow the phrase from Peter Brook. “The Empty space”, among the people, was part of that tradition.


–       What is the innate drama in your community (“part and parcel of the rhythm of daily and seasonal life”).


The use of English as my literary medium of expression, particularly in theater and the novel, has always disturbed me. (43)


–       What is your language?




To the River

–       Zbigniew Herbert

trans. by John and Bogdana Carpenter


River – hourglass of water metaphor of eternity

I enter you more and more changed

so I could be a cloud a fish or rock

while you are the same like a clock that measures

the metamorphoses of the body and descents of the spirit

slow disintegration of tissues and love


I who am born of clay

want to be your pupil

and learn the spring the Olympian heart

o cool torch rustling column

bedrock of my faith and my despair


river teach me stubbornness and endurance

so in the last hour I become worthy

of rest in the shade of the great delta

in the holy triangle of the beginning and of the end


[if, a schechner suggests, art may have as its social aims transportation or transformation – relaying audiences to their next action, or causing an action, instancing change – then through silence we reawaken the opportunity to be agents of change, who change?]




“A man of many words,” says the psalmist, “will never lead a right life on earth.” Therefore he says elsewhere: Dixi custodiam vias meas ut non delinquam in lingua mea (Ps 38:1). This is hypallage, and is as though he said: “I will defend my ways with my tongue-guard; if I defend my tongue well, I can well keep to the way toward heaven.” For as Isaiah says, Cultus iusticie silentium (Is 32:17) – “Silence is the cultivation of justice.” … Thus Isaiah joins both hope and silence together, and says that in them will stand spiritual strength: In silentio et spe erit fortitudo vestra (Is 30:15) – that is, “In silence and in hope will be your strength.”

–      Ancrene Wisse


[as a deep fan of over-writing, i wonder if i am as well a fan of hopelessness.]




In the economy of divine charity we have only as much as we give. But we are called upon to give as much as we have, and more: as much as we are. So the measure of our love is theoretically without limit. The more we desire to give ourselves in charity, the more charity we will have to give. And the more we give the more truly we shall be. For the Lord endows us with a being proportionate to the giving for which we are destined…

Charity… is essentially prudent, just, temperate, and strong. Unless all the other virtues blend together in charity, our love is not genuine. No one who really wants to love another will consent to love him falsely. If we are going to love others at all, we must make up our minds to love them well. Otherwise our live is a delusion.

The first step to unselfish love is the recognition that our love may be deluded. We must first of all purify our love by renouncing the pleasure of loving as an end in itself. As long as pleasure is our end, we will be dishonest with ourselves and with those we love. We will not seek their good, but our own pleasure.

–      Merton, No Man is an Island


[good for Lent. Silence = charity. i know charity is a loaded term for many, but let it include an openness to receiving as well as giving, humility taking the door off the hinges altogether… silence stills transaction – clears out the something-for-something noise…]




[tellingly, the word “silence” doesn’t appear in the Confessions of St. Patrick. “Silent” does, but generally negated.]


What is more, let anyone laugh and taunt if he so wishes. I am not keeping silent, nor am I hiding the signs and wonders that were shown to me by the Lord many years before they happened, [he] who knew everything, even before the beginning of time. – (From a section bookmarked as “Baptizes a Beautiful Irish Princess”)


[in our silence-activism, we remember that the device of silence is a means to charity.]




Silence = where things are. The universe is stitched with space, time, and – listening. That’s what the dark matter is.

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