There's the brain-ache of attempting to force thought into existence, into a form recognisable in language (or image, or music, or dance). I was tempted to put the word 'new' before thought, but I fear that 'new' can be something of a weasel word, perverting, distorting, distracting. After all it might be just as valuable to rediscover an old thought. At the same time we (humans) do need to find (new?) solutions, to give birth to those thoughts that move us towards the paradigm shifts that will enable us to, for example, remake our world in conformity to evolving ecological concerns; to manage a better balance between egalitarianism and individual freedom.
Jacqueline wrote to me yesterday, asking how I was because she hadn't seen anything written by me on the blog since June. I replied saying I was fine, it was simply I have been busy this summer with my studies for a Diploma of Palliative Care at King's College, London. Somehow there was no space for anything else.
So I find a double cause of celebration today, both the main part of my studies are over, and now I know we have our “ silent witnesses” who, like Jacqueline, follow our progress on the blog. Perhaps there is a multitude of them. We are encouraged.
I'm glad to be back here on this blog, where we find two writers, ak and mmj, in one place. Being two in one place, it helps us to measure words. We have to give space to each other’s writing, or put another way we are continually measuring equidistance.
I think the quality of equidistance has been absent in our lives as we have struggled with the separate projects which we had both taken on in the last year; ak going to Rome and meeting the ‘big mind’ of the Catholic Church; myself joining an academic department at King's College and meeting the ‘big mind’ of scientific medicine. Our two experiences have obviously been very different, but one thing we have shared in common is perhaps this absence of equidistance, as both these ‘big minds’ have pressed our noses hard up against the glass behind which wisdom is expected to reveal herself.
So I'm glad to be back here on this blog today, where we consciously and robustly measure equidistance.
There's something else we share here, which was also denied us in the last year of our experiments as trainee priest and trainee academic, and that is the experience of emergence. On the one hand, Revelation according to the ‘big mind’ of the Catholic Church, can anything emerge after His revelation some two millennia ago? On the other hand, Revelation according to the ‘big mind’ of scientific medicine, can anything emerge after the closure assumptions of the ‘classic experimental’ method? Both ‘big minds’, I think, say, No.
For both ak and myself however, there is always the possibility of emergence, what is revealed in the equidistant space of our meetings here. We deeply don't know how these “travelling conversations” are going to turn out in our writing, but in a gentle way I think both of us believe in emergence; the possibility that, as conditions ripen, some of the fruits that are revealed will be totally different to the strata of the original causes, which set us on our respective paths last year, and, equally, which began these first “travelling conversations” on this blog three years ago.
It became clear yesterday that I had to readjust my position in relation to you. A step back and a shuffle to the left and then I was able to look at you once more, perhaps even to see you. Bad news travels fast and no news is the best news there is. Your decisions reach me as shocks – little shocks mostly – reading 3.5 on the Richter scale. These shifts, these openings and closings, marking tiny movements in your survival strategies, details arising from seismic sunderings, decisions that swim up like primitive monsters from the deep places, and might explode in the changing pressures of our current preoccupations.