Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dictionary of the Inexpressible (part II)

I've tried to add my own unclassifiable states to the previous list. This is an attempt to begin a classification of states that defy words.

We experience claustrophobia and this can be mapped to, say, being trapped in a tight tunnel or wooden box. But we also fear being trapped by circumstance, by our inabilities or by our fears themselves. Sometimes the feelings are so indefinable that we can only hint at them and hope that the person we speak to has felt the same. Conversely, we all have had those moments of liberation, of flight, where the world seems open and limitless. But, are you feeling the same as me. Or, to use the analogy of color: Do you see the same lime-green as I do when I say "lime-green" or do you see magenta?

Nostalgia of the Infinite
So-named for a favorite De Chirico painting. (The first use I found for a color copier was to take a postcard of this painting and then post the copies on walls, doors and telephone poles)
There is a sense, akin to a claustrophobia but not quite, of being trapped in this particular moment as this particular person. The moment is suffocating because there is no alternative to it and one can feel Time as one feels a rough wind, shoving leaves down a hill. Combine this with a distant memory, or sense, of being somehow larger than circumstance, of being able to fly against Fate, to ascend out of this moment, not unlike a liberating dream.

Amnesia of Identity
This happens usually upon waking. The world has fallen away. At first it is like that feeling you have when you have dived into a large pool and have lost your sense of gravity. The world which consists of yourself, your place, the people who inhabit it arrives in layers or in waves, or like sheets of rain, or like clothes pulled around your body, dry and weighty, after surfacing from a chilly swim.
Identity arrives first (who am I? who else is here?) followed by time and space and then artifacts of the world, filled in roughly at first, still half-dissolved, like a painting with faded colors.

Dislocation;"Homesick for another state of being"
The English word "homesick" is an inelegant word. It describes one of a variety of feelings that occur when one has been too abruptly snatched from one state to another. But it is the closest word in English to what I am trying to describe: a homesickness which is more of a nostalgic yearning, a longing that can be felt with the entire body. It is the feeling of being displaced or dislocated but not lost. The Portuguese word "Saudade" also comes close.

The Potential Moment
Something is about to happen. You can feel it in your chest, taste it on your tongue (its a metallic taste). Writers will often use the phrase "the moment was charged with potential" and I believe they are trying to describe or unravel this same emotion. Anything might happen now. Events are happening too fast to either comprehend or control. It is a momentary dizziness. It is standing on a precipice where you do not know if you will fall or you will fly.
But, it is more than just a feeling of possibility. It is also the feeling that the decisions you make now will be far-reaching and continue to manifest themselves in your future. These are the transitions in an episodic existence.
These moments have almost a religious significance and so I can see some similarity to the Bardos of Tibetan Buddhism - those junctures in life where possibility is at its peak.
(Also discovered that Jung, that explorer of inner worlds was himself profoundly affected by the notion of these Bardos)

Feeling of The Unseen
Let us say you walk through an empty room at a party or function where there are others about - one which you have walked through only a few minutes ago. But, since you were there last you notice some small detail has changed. Perhaps a pillow has been moved - or a cup of coffee now sits on the table. But, you see nobody there.
This is akin to that "feeling of being watched" in that a "presence" is nearby but cannot be seen and that affects all perceptions. It can also be the feeling that there is an unseen mechanism, of people and things, which move the world forward. It can also be noticing that someone has closed the door, or the door has closed itself, when there is a cold wind blowing outside. .

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