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am 13.01.2002 9:10 Uhr schrieb [log in to unmask] unter [log in to unmask]:

> But TSE also warns that, initially at least, experience does NOT lead to
> truth. In fact,  we may derive the wrong conclusions from our personal
> experiences and see false 'patterns' that are not there:
> 
> ======================
> East Coker II
> -------------------------
> There is, it seems to us,
> At best, only a limited value
> In the knowledge derived from experience.
> The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
> For the pattern is new in every moment
> And every moment is a new and shocking
> Valuation of all we have been.
> ========================
> 
> I think TSE believed that It is only through mature reflection (and, as JP
> said, suffering) that we gradually move from so-called "knowledge derived
> from experience" (which may be false) to an understanding of divine truth.


Dear Steve,


in my view, TSE's warning of the highly praised merits of experience is not
limited to some obscure divine truth, but to quite practical and profane
things.

This is one of the reasons why EC II is one of my favourite and central
parts of the Quartets. There is this specifically didactic aspect to it,
characteristic to many parts of the poem,  a quality that can also be found
in the first 10 lines of BN: one statement follows the other (Marcia has
confided to me off-list that it was precisely for this reason that she
doesn't like 4Q).

The passage on the relativity of experience leads over to the closely
related sermon on the wisdom of old men:

(...). Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

Old gits like I tend to to do things the way they had always been done --
the hallmark of "experience". However, such a sterotypical approach to a
problem bars the way to truly innovative solutions.

I can see this clearly in design discussions with talented young architects,
persistently questioning principles and procedures. In such fructifying
dialogue one is forced to constantly check one's own premises.

TSE does not deny the benefits of experience; he bestows it "a limited
value" at best. Perhaps this is why us old men ought to be explorers: we
must distinguish between the kind of experiences to be discarded, and the
ones to hang on to.


Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday and a blessed week:


Gunnar


Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others
belong to us as well.

-Voltaire (1694-1778)