Thinkers 38

Zen/0 -- Explore Thinkers, Eliot, page 38

T.S.Eliot FOUR QUARTETS

FOUR QUARTETS
(each has 5 parts)
Burnt Norton 1
East Coker 9
The Dry Salvages 19
Little Gidding 29

7/31/88
I find so much connection with Eliot. There is a possibility that his four quartets are like my four chants at the Noint Joint. Each quartet has five nodes, like a pyramid or Noint Joint. I quote extensively from this poem that for me evokes the thesis of Zen and the Art of Dividing by Zero. To explain why would be a major literary achievement that is beyond me. I hope you understand why from the context of the quotes and the chosen lines.

"Burnt Norton
1/II/5: At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.

The inner freedom from the practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving,
Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, but a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy...
To be conscious is not to be in time
Only through time time is conquered

1/III/6
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.

Descend lower, descend only
Into the world of perpetual solitude,
World not world, but that which is not world,
Internal darkness, deprivation
And destitution of all property,
Desiccation of the world of sense,
Evacuation of the world of fancy, Inoperancy of the world of spirit;
This is the one way, and the other
Is the same, not in movement
But abstention from movement; while the world moves
In appetency, on its metalled ways
Of time past and time future.

1/V/7 ..., but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,

And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. ...

East Coker,
2/II/13
...
The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
Useless in the darkness into which they peered
Or from which they turned their eyes.. There is, it seems to us,
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience.
...Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

East Coker, 2/III/15
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God....
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
-- the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
... In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,

You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

The Dry Salvages 3/V/27
...But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint--
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime's death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.

Little Gidding 4/I/31
Where is the summer, the unimaginable
Zero summer:
...And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment....
--If you came this way,
--you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. ...
And what the dead had no speech for , when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
In England and nowhere. Never and always.

4/II/33
At the recurrent end of the unending
For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
But, as the passage now presents no hindrance
To the spirit unappeased and peregrine
Between two worlds become much like each other"

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