Monday, April 23, 2007

muted voices

Also we have all the urge to immerse us in polarity's stagnant pools, each to his own end.
Ignorant redneck shitheels versus lily-neck book-brains.

Yesterday I attended a Yom Hashoah - a remembrance of the Holocaust at a Catholic Cathedral, addressing a congregation largely of Jews and Catholics from Southwest Florida. One difference: 13 candles for 13 million.

The main speaker was a Rabbi who spoke in broad terms of the human condition as one of being responsible even in our arrested state as prisoners of hope. It was a complex and thoughtful talk, conveying a burden from the past with its inexorable claim upon the attention of the future.

What struck me was how this very serious and solemn gathering -- addressing what is to be remembered and the how and the what and the why of remembrance -- was situated, as it seemed, in an undefined space between fragments of two vast and vastly different territories of faith and commitment.

The Rabbi spoke from his history, but the speaking took place in a kind of de-religionated zone. An open space in which speaking and hearing occur, but any articulation of the differences between the fundamental traditions and approaches grosso modo of Catholicism and Judaism was left unspoken. It may be my ignorance, but I'm not familiar with Christians speaking of hope as imprisoning. From my admittedly spotty reading, hope within the Christian tradition is precisely what greases the turning intoward liberation.

...sì non si perde,
che non possa tornar, l'etterno amore,
mentre che la speranza ha fior del verde.

none is so lost
that that the eternal love cannot return
so long as hope has some flowering of green.

Later I said to the friend who had invited me that there was something very USian - a blurring of differences in, well, hope of reaching something both traditions can accept that still has substance.

Polarities are not transcended by virtue of being unspoken. Though I guess larger dialogues hold their tongues in order for anything at all to be sayable.


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