Sunday, August 11, 2013

consubstantially yours


The gifts I give to the child are skin as smooth as silk,
Lips as red as a rose,
and a heart as soft as a plush Disney Princess blanket.
--Sleeping Beauty, Brothers Grimm [Kind of]


The little sparrow darted back and forth, back and forth on her perch.
cholo, cholo, cholo she chirped, beating in time with the thumping of her little heart.
She scrambled out of the nest, stepping on her brother's head, as her sleepy sibling squawked in protest, still too heavy-eyed to face the dewey morning.
The little sparrow darted from the trees and soared over the small little park, diving right towards the bread crumbs she so greatly desired.

~
One of my friends loves to say:
"It's unclear"
about literally everything.

Per esempio:
What was the class reading assignment?
It's unclear.
Are X and Y still dating?
It's unclear.
If the carrots expired a week ago, does that mean we can still eat them?
It's unclear.
What does Kant think of synthetic a priori knowledge?
It's highly unclear.

It's a catchy phrase, due to the fact that it is applicable to most every situation in life.
Life is pretty much just that--it's all very unclear.
What really is certain? [c.f. Descartes]
Or, as theology professors prefer to say, with a wise shrug:
it's a mystery.

Which is what I starting thinking about during the Nicene Creed, as I was dancing in the sunbeam streaming in through the stained glass window. The stained glass windows in our church are beautiful, especially when the sun hits them just right, and they cast colored sunbeam into your pew in which you can dance. But this particular window has a rather overly-angular depiction of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. 
It's just rife with pointy angles. 
They make me uncomfortable. 
And I'm sure poor Isaac, bound and prepped for being sacrificed in all his angular glory, would similarly express his discomfort.

Consubstantial with the Father. Consubstantial, I thought. 
What does that mean exactly?
And as much as you can try to explain what it means, it always remains somewhat unclear.
Which you probably knew in the first place. 
A word like: "consubstantial" lets you know, right off the bat, that it is not to be trifled with.
You are not allowed to walk up to a word such as "consubstantial" and say: This word? Piffle. Easy. I understand you.
Consubstantial is not a word which you can piffle at.
Consubstantial is a word that invites you into the mystery rather than offering you a crass definition.
There are some words like that. 
They are the best words, because they explain themselves without reducing themselves, without giving themselves away.
Even while illuminating truth, they manage to retain their impenetrable mystery.

It's sort of what it's like when you find yourself onstage bringing a story to life.
You are using your very soul to illuminate a truth, but the mechanics of how exactly that occurs are an impenetrable mystery, even to you.
How exactly one person takes up and puts on the story of another is a fascinatingly mysterious project.
Actors have a lot of words that they use to try to explain exactly how this mysterious phenomenon takes place.
They'll talk for days about things like: sense memory and emotional recall, intention and motive, Meisner exercises and finding the beats and playing overarching objectives.

All of these are words maybe sort of kind of in the vein of consubstantial
They are simply multisyllabic markers, denoting: Attention, Mortals: A Mystery Lies Here.
It's all very unclear.


Sam: Why do you always use binoculars?
Suzy: It helps me see things closer. Even if they're not very far away. I pretend it's my magic power.
Sam: That sounds like poetry. Poems don't always have to rhyme, you know. They're just supposed to be creative.
--Moonrise Kingdom

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