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“This was how (or so I dreamed) was waked on earth the mortal moan begot of sentience. Maybe now normal unawareness waits rebirth.”

September 24, 2009
“The Aërolite” (Thomas Hardy)

I thought a germ of Consciousness
Escaped on an aërolite
Aeons ago
From some far globe, where no distress
Had means to mar supreme delight;

But only things abode that made
The power to feel a gift uncloyed
Of gladsome glow,
And life unendingly displayed
Emotions loved, desired, enjoyed.

And that this stray, exotic germ
Fell wanderingly upon our sphere,
After its wingings,
Quickened, and showed to us the worm
That gnaws vitalities native here,

And operated to unblind
Earth’s old-established innocence
Of stains and stingings,
Which grin no griefs while not opined
But cruelly tax intelligence.

“How shall we,” then the seers said,
“Oust this awareness, this disease
Called sense, here sown,
Though good, no doubt, where it was bred,
And wherein all things work to please?”

Others cried: “Nay, we rather would,
Since this untoward gift is sent
For ends unknown,
Limit its registerings to good,
And hide from it all anguishment.”

I left them pondering. This was how
(Or so I dreamed) was waked on earth
The mortal moan
Begot of sentience. Maybe now
Normal unawareness waits rebirth.

“It is very unhappy, but too late to be helped, the discovery we have made, that we exist. That discovery is called the Fall of Man. Ever afterwards, we suspect our instruments. We have learned that we do not see directly, but mediately, and that we have no means of correcting these colored and distorting lenses which we are, or of computing the amount of their errors. Perhaps these subject-lenses have a creative power; perhaps there are no objects. Once we lived in what we saw; now, the rapaciousness of this new power, which threatens to absorb all things, engages us. Nature, art, persons, letters, religions,––objects, successively tumble in, and God is but one of its ideas. Nature and literature are subjective phenomena; every evil and every good thing is a shadow which we cast.”

––Emerson, “Experience”
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