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Yet everyone is called to sanctity.
P.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: cr mittal 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Friday, December 15, 2006 11:33 AM
  Subject: Re: Eliot's Indic Studies


  Diana, the answer seems to be available in the passage
  which describes the poet's experience of "the still point"
  in 'Burnt Norton'.

  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.

  It's an admission that the experience of "the still point"
  (as well as the state of consciousness that goes with it)
  is out of time ( i.e. time past, present, and future -- the 
  earthly time).

  As such, in the expression "to be conscious is not to be in time",
  consciousness refers to a state of mind that is not in time --
  it belongs to the mystic state of being at "the still point". 

  Elsewhere in the poem, the poet says that such an experience
  is vouchsafed only to a saint or a sage, suggesting that ordinary
  human beings have to live in time present, past and future --
  grapple with them -- in order to conquer them. This notion
  of conquering time "through time" finds expression in the
  second of the passages quoted below.

  Regards.

  ~ CR

   
  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.
  Yet the enchainment of past and future
  Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
  Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
  Which flesh cannot endure.
                                            Time past and time future
  Allow but a little consciousness.
  To be conscious is not to be in time
  But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
  The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
  The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
  Be remembered; involved with past and future.
  Only through time time is conquered.

  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


  Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
    I see that no one will venture to interpret the line "to be conscious in not to be in time." What could he have meant? It all depends on what Eliot meant by "conscious." He says that the moments in the rose-garden, etc. are "in time," so those moments are not conscious, by his own definition.
    But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
    The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
    The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
    Be remembered; involved with past and future.
    Only through time time is conquered.

    No one will make a stab at interpreting what he means by conscious? I myself am quite at a loss. Diana


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