Diana,
 
Your point of view does not explain the passage about "the still point"
I quoted, especially the terms which I have emphasized. Could you
please look up the passage again. There, it is not Christ but "we"
who have been there at the still point etc.
 
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
 
~ CR


Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
CR wrote:
"Incidentally, "to be conscious is not to be in time" does not imply the state
of human soul without body -- it's an experience that saints have while living
this life in time -- they are both in time and out of time. That is why this mystic
moment is at the cross-section of time and eternity. TS Eliot recalls
a fleeting experience of this "timeless moment" which is available to saints
and sages at all times -- a state of detachment from earthly joys and sorrows,
a state of detached action, and they enjoy all the attributes of this state while
physically alive."
 
Dear CR:  I understand that Indic mysticism reconciles body and spirit, but in Christianity there is a dichotomy if not an opposition of the two, except in the person of Christ. The Incarnation is the cental doctrine of Christianity, when timeless bodiless divinity becomes flesh in time. Eliot recognizes the duality by distinguishing between being in time and not being in time -- "to be conscious" seems to mean "to be spirit without a body" since it is a state of not being in time, and body is always in time.
 
 
In the Wordsworth passage Vishvesh posted, he posits a bodiless state of pure spirit before birth, which actually seems to be defiled by incarnating as flesh. This is a strange almost un-Christian vision, except as it maintains the separation of matter/spirit. As I mentioned, the strong Neoplatonism of Christian mysticism accounts for the dichotomy. This is absent from Indic mysticism. It seems that the rose garden and the church at smokefall reconcile the opposites in the mystic manner you describe, which I believe is Eliot's vision of the Incarnation as it applies to practicing Christians, " i.e., conquering" time while being in the body. Diana


From:  cr mittal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To:  [log in to unmask]
Subject:  Re: Four Quartets -- a reading
Date:  Mon, 18 Dec 2006 12:44:52 -0800

Dear Diana,
  
 
  
I appreciate the warmth with which you receive the excerpt. I'm glad
  
it stirs new insights. We have a long way to go, though. It's like Dante
  
having lost his way in a dark forest in the opening canto of The Divine
  
Comedy. Well, my hope lies in the kindly light that leads us from
  
within. And it brings in coincidences as well that help.
  
 
  
Incidentally, "to be conscious is not to be in time" does not imply the state
  
of human soul without body -- it's an experience that saints have while living
  
this life in time -- they are both in time and out of time. That is why this mystic
  
moment is at the cross-section of time and eternity. TS Eliot recalls
  
a fleeting experience of this "timeless moment" which is available to saints
  
and sages at all times -- a state of detachment from
earthly joys and sorrows,
  
a state of detached action, and they enjoy all the attributes of this state while
  
physically alive. AND, it is possible for anyone to cultivate a way of life through
  
a recourse to, for instance, "Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata", and reach that state.
  
TS Eliot too aspired to attain to that state all his life -- he persevered. It was
  
the goal of his life -- not that he attained it. [ According to Hindu philosophy,
  
it takes relentless efforts of many lives. Sometimes, this state is vouchedsafed
  
to you in consideration of your childlike purity of heart, mind and soul -- a gift
  
of Divine Grace.]  The Four Quartets defines the moment and charts out the
  
course which we can take toward it.
  
 
  
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes
stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.
  
 
  
Diana, let me again draw your attention to the passage on "the still point".
  
Let us mark the words I
emphasize:
  
 
  
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion,
yet surrounded
By a grace of sense,
a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without
motion, concentration
Without elimination,
both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
  
 
  
Diana, we must contemplate these lines to get at their core.
  
 
  
Best wishes,
  
 
  
CR
  


Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
  
  
  
  
Dear CR: This part of the excerpt you posted strikes me as pertinent to the 4 Qts passage that asserts that only in time is time conquered: "A new inflexion/emphasises Incarnation... "
  
Perhaps "to be conscious in not to be in time" is the state of the unincarnated soul or spirit. The rest of the passage could be
read as expressing Eliot's realization of the spiritual value of the Incarnation. Seen in this light, the very provocative passage from Wordsworth that Vishvesh posted would seem to be saying something quite different, describing a vision of the incarnation of spirit into flesh as "a death and a forgetting."
  
Many thanks CR -- I begin to see the meaning of the smoky church at nightfall and the rose-garden a bit more clearly! Diana
  
  
  
    
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