Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Light of the Self

"Why should it be so hard for so many simply to be kind?  To hear a new commandment: Love thy neighbor, he is thyself!  To know, not only believe, that the light of the Self in anyone else is the same light that is burning in the Self within us, so to reverence them both is to reverence the One, that great mystery of the Sacred."

These words from Alice Howell's The Dove in the Stone echo mightily in my heart this morning; they tie in very neatly with the final paper I rewrote yesterday for my class on Metaphor.

The essence of that paper is this: that the traditional metaphors for photography -- shooting, capturing, taking or making pictures -- don't really work for me because each in its own way designates the subject of my photograph as "other;" an enemy to be shot or captured, a prize to be taken, a clay to be molded...  I see the act of photography as a gesture of relationship with all that is holy in the world; a way of listening to and acknowledging that light of the Self that burns in all of creation.

It's been fun to explore the metaphors, and fun to evaluate what lies beneath them; fun, also, to understand a little better why and how it is that I do what I do -- which, at least for now, seems to be about "gathering images."  Those were the only words I've found (so far; I'm sure there's lots more thinking to be done on this subject) that had the potential to honor the sense of oneness and unity that lies beneath and behind my photographic efforts.

That said, I have to confess I do not have TOTAL reverence for creation: it's ant season (always a challenge when you live in a house built on sand) and I've been ruthlessly murdering lots of the little buggers these last few days.  Every morning I come into the kitchen to find them swarming over the dishes my late night sugar snackers leave by the sink.  Lysol works great on them, but I do feel a bit guilty wiping up all those little carcasses... Time to put out the 20 Mule Team Borax!

1 comment:

Maureen said...

From its description here, your paper sounds like a very good read. Our use of metaphors is fascinating, I think.

Great Ammons quote to the right.