Friday, August 9, 2013

Your Nothings ARE Something

“Even as a child I could never understand why certain things that were important to me appeared to older people to be nothing. What I ‘made up’ to delight or terrify myself was nothing. Certain queer feelings, coming out of the blue, were nothing. I can remember, though it must be all of ____ years ago, sitting in the sun on a tiny hillock at the back of our house, and feeling, not lightly, but to the very depths of my being, that I was close to some secret about a wonderful treasure which had no size, no shape, no substance, but all the same, was somewhere just behind the sunlight and the buttercups and daisies and the grass and the warm earth. And this too, it seems, was nothing. I was surrounded, and often enchanted, it appears, by nothing…Then I was taught to look at life properly and become a level headed fellow…This looking at life properly, with no nonsense about you, and becoming a level headed fellow might be compared to attendance at a rather strange movie theater. In there you are told to concentrate entirely upon the images shown on the screen. These are your world, your life. What is not shown on the screen is nothing. But you cannot help feeling that there is something else, not on the screen. Perhaps you hear a voice that is not coming from there, and is much closer to your ear. You seem to catch a glimpse of a face that is not a screen image. There are whispers and movements in the dark. Apparently, there is a life all around you, not like the clear and ordered imagery of the screen—a life fragmentary, mysterious, only to be guessed at, but somehow suggesting a fullness and richness of living not to be found in the existence of the lighted images.

Indeed, this screen existence is beginning to seem repetitive and tedious; but one of it’s hollow brass voices, probably coming from a machine, tells you not to be impatient, says that you have only to wait, taking care not to addle your wits with nothings, and soon what the screen will show you will be wonderful. But if you listen hard, another voice, low-pitched, quiet, so close that it might be inside your head, whispers that what you are being told with such authority and complacency is nonsense, that the life around you in front of the screen is real and enduring, and that your nothings have always been something.”
--from MAN & TIME by J.B. Priestley

No comments: