I was planning to create a topic dealing with your literature recommendations. But that’s to shallow. I am not interested in experiences that are not extreme.
Emily Dickinson said: “If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry”. That is poetry itself. I want to know if you ever made a connexion to a piece of art that shocked you so much that you had to rebuild yourself from the debris.
That doesn’t happen very often. It would be too much mental weight… The best poetry causes a physical reaction: those are the only moments where I feel my body and my mind are in perfect alignment. If you have ever felt it you know the feeling: it IS about direct reactions, I’ve come to learn that reading while thinking is nonsense to me. I can do that when I’m studying a particular poem or play, but the first read has to be direct, and talk directly to my Intuition with no veils in between.
I’ll start with an example myself: the first time I read the Divine Comedy I thought it was hideous, a poor attempt of Romantic Love Gospel. But after some weeks my Ti cracked, and I instinctively returned to Dante. And I read through Fe. And this time I reached the core: the grandeur of the poem is not in its Theology, but in using that Theology to create a correspondence between Mind and Space.
An example. In Hell, Canto XXXII, Dante finds Conde Ugolino eating the brains of his political enemy Rugieri:
I saw two shades frozen in a single hole packed so close, one head hooded the other one; the way the starving devour their bread, the soul above had clenched the other with his teeth where the brain meets the nape.
(I post it in Italian too so you can hear its music; you don’t need to speak Italian to enjoy its sound)
Noi eravam partiti già da ello,
ch’io vidi due ghiacciati in una buca,
sì che l’un capo a l’altro era cappello;
e come ’l pan per fame si manduca,
così ’l sovran li denti a l’altro pose
là ’ve ’l cervel s’aggiugne con la nuca:
In the next Canto, this Count tells his story. He tells how he and his children were made prisoners by Rugieri inside the Tower of Hunger. The children, starving, offer their body to his father:
'Father our pain', they said, 'Will lessen if you eat us you are the one Who clothed us with this wretched flesh: we plead For you to be the one who strips it away'. e disser: "Padre, assai ci fia men doglia se tu mangi di noi: tu ne vestisti queste misere carni, e tu le spoglia".
The father answers:
And then the hunger had more Power than even sorrow over me
Before that, Ugolino had describe a dream: he had seen the sons of three great Italian families pursued by starving hounds.
Now, the magic of this Canto is that it automatically makes you think of cannibalism, but it is never stated that Ugolino ate his children’s bodies. It is suggested through Ruggieri’s punishment and Ugolino’s dream. My Ti was trying to get the allegory of the punishment. My Fe -or Fi?- catched the primal horror of cannibalism: if you eat you can be eaten. If you have a body, it can be used, torn apart; the father devouring the offspring, the return to the seed in times of despair.
Well, those are things that my Ti can classify as archetypes and verbalize only when it was off during the experience. That’s the way I gain infinite pleasure in art.
I’d like to share more, but tell me: can you relate to this feeling I describe?