A peek into a beautiful mind found on my virtual travels around the spiritual Globe
When the worst happens. . . we experience a sense of profound shock and disorientation. Yet neuroscientists and psychologists who look back at the consequences of these horrific events have learned something surprising: most victims of tragedy soon begin to recover and ultimately emerge largely emotionally intact. Most of us demonstrate astonishing natural resilience to the worst that life throws our way (1).
I don’t think so.
(I happen to agree. You cannot escape “emotionally intact” from things that crosses your path violently. Our brain has just so much storage capacity and it mixes all the data stored in so many ways that we will never find anything original or “intact”)
It is a commonplace assumption that language has its limits, that there are realities and types of experience words are just not able to handle. I want to take issue with this assumption and argue that there is inherently nothing that is beyond words and that this fact about language has ethical implications (2).
There is plenty in my life that is beyond words, or, perhaps, for which words that were once meaningful and expressive no longer suffice. I used to have words for my sense of resilience to the worst that life throws my way. I used to have words that were expressive of nearly everything going on in my body and my mind. The words of the Palm Sunday liturgy used to say something that I could not say about the structure of my existence, and I was willing to use those words.
My grieving now is not so much for the tragic events in my life—the loss of my lover, my mother, my brother-in-law—or the suffering of those close to me—my father and my sister most importantly—as it is for the loss of my ability to think and talk about these things.
I hardly believe any “spiritual” language at all. Conlon would say I am simply unable to find the words for what I do believe—that they do exist (and I am somehow limited in capacity because I cannot find them). But I think at this moment, right here at my desk in Dallas, Texas, there is something I cannot say, but that I know, something that keeps me resilient, something that lets me go on. I’m not talking about either Stix’s neurological “true grit” or about something “spiritual.” If I knew what it is, I would say so. Until then, I will be sad that I cannot find those words, which probably means I cannot find the idea. And that sadness is what I can least explain in words.
I only wonder what hapens to the sadness once explained (in words)