Staying sane and the infinite conversation

He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage George Orwell Nineteen Eighty-Four

The lonely and arduous duty of the poet in destitute times is to obey this command: stay sane.

If you stay sane, you will defeat the monsters who torment and taunt you with their scorn for the finer arts of the mind.

If you stay sane, the writing will come and will slowly if enigmatically crystallise into the forms that it demands.

If you stay sane, you will resist the temptations of fame, the distractions of media, and the follies of common thinking. Sanity is a reprieve from the world that presses against the resisting body of the poet, the authentic dichter, and importunes it with the latest sass and seduction.

If you stay sane, you will maintain the song lines of human heritage. When these songs appear to be destroyed in engineered fires; when they are smothered in the driving drums of a city in a rush; when war is declared again within the soul of civilisation, and the city of lights becomes the scene for new massacres; it is only the lonely tenacity of single sane souls that invests in the harmless runes of prophecy.

But from those chance meanings, spread like disorder across time and space, will emerge the infinite conversation.

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Some measure of insanity

Let me simply record this statement from Donald Winnicott, which I have taken from the end of Adam Phillips’ short book on the enigmatically wise child-doctor and psychoanalyst:

If I want to say that Jung was mad, and he recovered, I am doing nothing worse than I would do in saying of myself that I was sane and through analysis and self-analysis I achieved some measure of insanity. Freud’s flight to sanity could be something we psychoanalysts are trying to recover from, just as Jungians are trying to recover from Jung’s ‘divided self’, and from the way he himself dealt with it.

The phrase -“I achieved some measure of insanity” – is the beautiful bell in this thought.