A little poetry and culture from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, rather timely for our technology crazed world (my own thoughts at the end):
Here is a place of disaffection
Time before and time after
In a dim light: neither daylight
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plenitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time,
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.
Eructation of unhealthy souls
Into the faded air, the torpid
Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.
Leave it to Eliot, not only to mention in this short span both Flickr and Twitter (though he spelled Flickr wrong), but I love his understanding of the times: between day and night, the semi-gloom (of a computer screen), our faces strained and stained by time, distracted by distraction (yes — that’s me). Apathy with no concentration. We eruct (or belch) into the darkness, in this twittering world.
I find it comforting, almost, that Eliot felt this true over 60 years ago: it gives me hope that people have felt this way for a long time; they have seen it in society and in themselves.
Beyond the relative comfort of it, however, is the realization that humankind has been feeling this apathy and darkness for a long, long time: maybe we need something beyond our best effort, something divine to help us out of this place of disaffection.