Perishing II

Benjamin and Thoreau have a notion — strange as this sounds — of impersonal mourning.  Branka Arsic reports this (See link below). 

But isn’t mourning the epitome of personal unburdening and self-exposure?  How can it be impersonal?

Perhaps grieving as a personal response threatens to ‘be about me’ and my pain, rather than being absorbed in the person or thing whose loss is mourned.  And perhaps the person or thing mourned should be cast as just one of an infinite number of animate and inanimate things lost and decaying through infinite expanses of time and space. 

To call grief or mourning “impersonal” focuses the field of mourning as the continuous passing-into-death of all nature, and focuses the field of mourners as any in the process of passing-into-death —  even birds and swaying trees can be said to weep and mourn (as well as sing their delight and shout for joy).  By expanding the extend of things-mourning my particular mourning is less aggrieved and full of angst and self-indulgent — more like the mixed feelings I have at sublime events, witness to destruction and vitality, hand in hand.  The decay of leaves and flesh replenish fields of spring poppies.

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http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2012/05/branka-arsic-memorial-life-thoreau-and-benjamin-on-nature-in-mourning/

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3 comments on “Perishing II

  1. dmfant says:

    yes, sort of the moonlight to Whitman’s beaming sun I think.
    http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2010/05/jane-bennett-walt-whitmans-solar-judgment/

  2. dmfant says:

    “I can’t help but dream about a kind of criticism that would try not to judge but to bring an ouvre, a book, a sentence, an idea to life; it would light fires, watch the grass grow, listen to the wind, and catch the sea foam in the breeze and scatter it. It would multiply not judgments but signs of existence; it would summon them, drag them from their sleep.
    Perhaps it would invent them sometimes — all the better. All the better.
    Criticism that hands down sentences sends me to sleep; I’d like a criticism of scintillating leaps of imagination. It would not be sovereign or dressed in red. It would bear the lightning of possible storms.”
    ~ Michel Foucault

  3. dmfant says:

    Rick Fields:

    This world -absolutely pure

    As is. Behind the fear,

    vulnerability. Behind that,

    Sadness, then compassion.

    And behind that the vast sky.

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