Last week I left you with a ship hanging precariously over the edge of the known world. On board were the mavericks Herman Melville and Helen Keller. Joining them is the American writer and iconoclast, Henry Miller:
“One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things.”
Now he tells us!
With Miller is a relative newcomer to the world of crazy wisdom, Rick Lewis. Mr. Lewis signed on to this journey of discovery in order to support the evolution of the species. While acknowledging that he’s not the first to send e-postcards from the edge, he wanted to see for himself what’s out there. Here’s part of his dispatch:
“From an evolutionary perspective, whether or not something has happened or not before, whether it has ever been done before, is not the issue. The issue is whether we ourselves are risking, experimenting, leaning forward into “our own unknown”.
As long as I’ve known Lewis he’s been leaning, juggling, tight-rope-walking, inventing and generally horrifying people by making them ecstatically uncomfortable. What I did not know before now is that his risk-taking has been in the service of “the greater cause of invention and ingenuity”, as he puts it. But I’m damn glad to hear it because it presents us with the possibility of… that’s right, folks… MEANING.
Lewis is one of the few people out there talking about an individual life having meaning for the species as a whole. Or for universal evolution generally. Here he is again:
“When anybody tries something without knowing if it will work—in their own experience—they’re…liberating atoms of courage into the atmosphere for the rest of us to inhale.”
In other words, courage is infectious. Expressed another way, courage is a vibration, and one that we may begin to resound with. Is it possible that other organisms draw benefit from those same sympathetic vibrations? Some mystics say so.
Speaking of whom, can you see Miller at the rail of the ship? He’s gazing over that horrifying scene as if he were standing on the very edge of the miraculous. He’s saying something to Lewis:
“The world is not to be put in order; the world is order, incarnate. It is for us to harmonize with this order.”
I’d love to be the fly on mainsail if Henry and Rick are going to start arguing about “meaning”.