Gigantic, uncontrollable gesture, Was when we were given a heart To live, To love.
Do we understand anything at all?
Collective thoughts of complex spiritual movements, And enigmatic minds of scientific thought What do you have yet about the history and the future of the man itself?
Standing exposed to the wind of time, Ruins, Decay of the flesh, Stand as a description of Being. Still, not discouraged, We’re outflanking the demon Who whispers of death.
Smile and believe Are the only ways to move forward, For stuck with appearances We’re not.
Half foolishness, Half incomplete wisdom, We dream and we may always exist, Somehow, somewhere, if even in the minds of others, For gigantic, uncontrollable gesture, Was when we were given a heart To live, To love.
Note: Dedicated to A, my very good friend who lost her father this past week.
Mechanical processes inside our perplexed souls, Make us the guilty masters of our living. We suffer from the automatism of doubt, Some suffer of the automatism of faith, And I, I am guilty of the automatism of love.
I believe in smiles, I cherish the slightest traces of memory from the moment I am told a name, I think that souls are pure no matter how corrupted they’ve become.
I have no cure.
I picked the roses you gave me, A poisoned gift, I would have been happier if I threw them in the fire And not allow the ghosts to appear.
Five thousand years will pass on human scale, Before the inner rumblings of your cheating would stop reverberating into my soul.
But it’s no use….
My innocence is not dissolved by pain, I let you put the shackles on again and I am guilty, For I love you and……. I have no cure.
Friends and foes, Please gather, Sit together and speak thy truth. Perhaps we can settle the swords and the jabs, Perhaps …
“Sure!” spoke Innocence, beautiful, suave creature, From the depths of naïve knowledge, she said: “We can reach togetherness, After all, we are in this together….”
“Really?” says the Skepticism “It seems that you glide through time learning nothing! Innocence, you’re just beautiful passing beauty….”
“Passing? No!”, says Innocence, “I’m always here, for without me how would you love? How would you hate?”
“Love? Hate?” says Rationality “After I made a considerable number of records over a long period of time, I consider that…. It’s all a pile of whims!”
“Maybe,” says the Idealism “But the man should always create another illusion, I am not ready to give up on dreams!”
“I am surprised you’re still here, Idealism! In an official universe, Where relationships, careers, life…. is predetermined, How have you not succumbed To day-by-day unhappiness inertia?” asked Rationality.
“Silence! All kneel! Surrender!” shouted someone from behind, “Accept my yoke and we will be saved!” It was Knowledge, demanding to be queen.
They all fell silent, Innocence became guilty, Rationality started to bow, Idealism became aggressive, Knowledge……did not become queen.
It can be difficult to get far beyond where I am, I listen…. I hear the shadows of time uncaught by the sundials, Murmuring about the universe’s life cycle.
I haven’t decided yet of where to lay the frontier between what is real and what is imaginary, Because I just want to say “hello” to the unknown. Where were we before we were born? Were we? Where does the soul live?
Our heads have been nodding together through the thousands of years, Our concept of matter remains unchanged, Atomic events are hovering in the container that is our body and soul, Trying to balance between finite and eternity.
I am part of the single, fragile human family, I believe in light and sparkles, I defy the soul-matter corroding glorification of human life, For energy, time, matter, all brought together, surpass us all.
Last night we were at the mall. It was past 7, it already got dark and but the artificial light was bathing this little place of the world with its sweet honey color. We were seating on a bench, waiting for a dinner table. We didn’t make dinner reservations and there was a waiting list. It was a beautiful night, calm, people were walking, kids were playing.
And then I saw her.
An older lady, in her late 70s or she might have been 80. I could not accurately guess her age. She was elegantly dressed, all black, black pants and a black long sleeve top. She was wearing heels, not high, but mid heel pumps. Over her black top she had a big piece of costume jewelry, a necklace. Her white hair was short, puffy, a bit like Jane’s Fonda. It was beautifully styled. I think it took a good 3-4 minutes as she walked past us. I felt my heart breaking and I was not sure why. Maybe I saw it in her eyes or maybe I felt it, but I knew that that …..she was alone. Alone.
Me and my family had dinner and a great time….and I forgot all about it. But then, at night, her image came back. I thought about her, I thought about myself and I thought about us, people. I thought about the journey of life and about what we understand while we’re doing it.
Thinking and perceiving
Nietzsche once said that:
“No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.” Nietzsche
I am thinking…… Alone. But how alone are we? How much of me do you see and how much of you do I see? Do you see me the way I see myself? Do I see you the way you see yourself?
I don’t really know the answer. I do not want to engage solipsism or what other philosophical views are on this subject. I want a practical perspective.
Communication and understanding
Back to my old lady in black. What did I see? I saw grace, beauty, old age, her alone feeling. It truly broke my heart, because this was my image of her. In trying to process what I saw through my own lenses I applied to her my self-avowals and self-ascriptions.
But what if talked to her? Maybe the way I had perceived her would have stayed the same. But also, I might have found out that what I saw was not truly who she was. Maybe she had a family, maybe she had a full life and she was happy.
The way we see is not always the way others see. We all have our own truths. We all want to live in a happy world, but we each have our own definitions of happiness.
Do you see me the way I see myself? Do I see you the way you see yourself? These are questions that we should all think about. In the light of so many social problems, of so many differences in our society, on matters of gender, ethnicity and so many other differences, we should try to understand “otherness”. We are all prejudiced and have our own stereotypes. Some less then others, but we do have them, because who we are is conditioned by our experiences.
I do not know what kind of social structure will best facilitate happiness, but we are all together on this planet. Regardless of how singular our carapace of a body makes us, we are connected into something bigger. If we talk and try to understand each other, then we will live better…..and maybe when feelings of alone will hit, you will find the comfort of all these people around you, who are all the same: alone but together.
There are so many things we take for granted, such is freedom. Being free to speak our minds, to pursue our dreams, and to do the things we want to do. But what if you lived in a different place or in a different time, what if you had to fight to be you everyday?
Lou Andreas Salome was an extremely bright woman, one that Nietzsche, Rene Maria Rilke (a famous German poet), Paul Ree (a German philosopher) fell in love with. She was also a confidante of Sigmund Freud and a sort of a godmother to Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud. That’s an impressive list of fascinating people, isn’t it?
She made herself free of the society rules and became immersed in her work. She ignored her family’s and the general social expectations, which held that the purpose of a woman was to get married, have children and be dependent on her man. Pressed by everyone around her to undertake a conventional life, she constantly refused to do so.
She lived in Germany, where under the influential Prussian civil code an unmarried woman remained under the ward of her father and a married woman under the ward of her husband…and the husband, until 1860 could take his wife to the police station to be beaten….Imagine that!
I think she was a larger-than-life figure. Besides these top thinkers that were entwined in her life, her accomplishments in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and her published writings as a poet, essayist, and novelist are extraordinary. She was one of the first female psychoanalysts and one of the first women to write psychoanalytically on female sexuality.
How did she remain under the radar?!
She was born in Russia, Sankt Petersburg in 1861. She was curious and wanted to learn, so she persuaded a Dutch priest to teach her theology, philosophy, world religions and German literature. The priest, who was married and 25 years older than her, fell in love with her and proposed. Of course, she wasn’t interested and the lessons stopped. She was only 17 years old…
After her father’s death she moved to Zurich; then because she developed a lung disease they moved to Rome. She was 21. Here she met Paul Ree, a German philosopher than happened to be Nietzsche’s friend. Paul Ree is not that famous, but Nietzsche’s (1844–1900)philosophy has been and still is of influence in present time. Nietzsche’s way of thinking was fresh; he challenged the traditional values and I like that about him. With the risk of being deterred from the subject, I’m going to include here few of Nietzsche’s quotes:
“ There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth”
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
“The higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.”
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
Lou, Nietzsche and Ree spend time and were planning to all move together, in a kind of brotherhood-sisterhood living, where they would all concentrate on their work.
This is a famous picture the three of them took in Luzerne, with Lou holding a whip and Nietzsche and Ree pulling the cart. It symbolizes the power she had over them…
Nietzsche and Ree were smitten with her and both proposed. She rejected their proposals. The relationship with Nietzsche ended up first, partly because of his possessive sister, Elizabeth Nietzsche, who in my opinion was a not very nice(I’ll just say this to keep the language of my writing clean). Some scholars say that Nietzsche wrote his famous book Thus Spoke Zarathustra as a response to his broken heart. Ree left her when she agreed to enter into a sham marriage (meaning no sex) with a linguistics scholar Friedrich Carl Andreas. They stayed married this way for 23 years, until his death in 1930.
Then she became deeply involved with Rene Maria Rilke, a German poet. I read his poetry and it’s beautiful. She persuaded him to change his name from Rene to Rainer. He was the first man that she got involved with sexually, she was around 30. She felt that she and Rilke were so well suited because he was in touch with the feminine side of himself. She often referenced herself as “androgynous” and she said that everyone should find the opposite sex within themselves. I find this a bit odd, a bit puzzling! If I am a woman, can I also find the man in me?! If you’re a man, can you also find the woman in you?!
Last, in 1911, Salome went to Vienna, to undergo psychoanalysis with Freud. Her ideas were inspirational to Freud, specifically on the topic of narcissism. They were actually linked by their common interest in narcissism. While Freud studied narcissism from outside, she studied narcissism from within. They had opposing views. For Freud, narcissism was a formation of one’s own self-image, for Salome narcissism broke out from the framework of the “I” and went beyond the boundaries of “love for oneself”. For Salome narcissism was a maniacal condition of love towards oneself and towards the surrounding world. Interesting, isn’t it!!! She became a psychoanalyst, and practiced until the Nazis came to power. She was five years younger than Freud and despite the rumors about their romantic involvement their relationship was mostly intellectual.
There is a good movie about her, in German: Lou Andreas Salome and the audacity to be free. This is where I got the inspiration for my title. The movie made me a bit sad, but we should always follow our dreams and always think about what do we want to be remembered for.
Why do I find her inspiring ? I find her inspiring because she was a woman who managed to live a self-determined, independent life. She went against all odds and became who she wanted to be.