Saintly Thoughts

On the Two Worlds

I find myself divided against myself.  Specifically, there is the self that identifies with the mythic ideal of the soul and the self that identifies with the unbelievably complex reality of the senses.  I love them both, and I fear them both, in turn.  The reality of the senses shows me an incredibly dynamic world, ruled by complex power relations acting (almost) always under the surface.  A world in which strength and subtlety rule; where the weak are inevitably crushed and the strong build up empires.  In this world there is so much to be discovered that it overwhelms, and one can spend a lifetime tracking down a thread of thought, only to discover that it has led you into a dead end, and your life has become bereft of meaning (except insofar as you prevent the next person from going down that same worthless trail).  In this world there is no God, no goodness, and no foundation: all is flux.  What goodness there is is the goodness of the illusions we construct out of the necessity of shared experience, but it is subject to change without notice.  In this world every person is potentially against all other persons.  I look at this world with wonder, but ultimately, sink down into despair--for this world will grind my bones into the dust.  

But then I turn my eyes to the other world.  Whereas the first world is ruled by hidden powers that may yet be known if their secrets are wrested from the earth with grit and wisdom, this other world would remain hidden if one searched for it for a thousand years by such methods.  It is a world abiding behind and beyond the constructs of human imagination, a world in which we and our ancestors meet.  A world where dark things creep in the shadows to terrify our hearts but also where the spirits that dwell in the daisies delight our minds and brighten our aspects with poetry of silly things.  It is a world of utter simplicity, where all of the dark forces of the waking world melt into archetypes of good and evil, of pleasure and pain, of right and wrong.  It is here where the old gods now abide and the One God yet reigns.  It is the world of utter fantasy as well as the world of utter truth.  The world where the divisions are great and terrible but the sides served are clear and unsullied.  I love this world in a way that I can't bring myself to love the other one.  But this world is independent of me in a way that the other is not; for in this world, though it touches at the edges of the imagination and thus arises from within me, it is truly ruled by tropes rising up out of the mists of time, guiding its creation in my mind, whereas the other universe (though bound by laws) may be overcome and challenged and ruled!  This world is so beautiful, but it terrifies me in a way that the sensed reality cannot, for therein lies the answer to the riddle of the human soul and it is in this world that the soul may truly be irretrievably lost!

I find myself constantly playing a game whereby I zip back and forth between these two worlds.  I have a suspicion that most people do something similar, though I doubt they realize what they are doing.  But the thing that I truly fear is the thought of these two worlds become inter-meshed - that is where the truly horrible happens, when people forget which realm they are dealing with.  The thin places where faerie melds with the human world--this is what brings us moments of both our greatest terror and our greatest delight.