Mallonee creates songs
Oppen makes poetry
Rublev writes an icon
Kierkegaard ages with Regina
And all’s right in this wrong world
On the road to Solipsism–which is the doctrine not that I matter to nobody but that nobody exists but me–on the road to Solipsism there blows the same wind of loneliness which blows on the road to the house with walls of glass which none can break. In the labyrinth of metaphysics are the same whispers as one hears when climbing Kafka’s staircases to the tribunal which is always one floor further up. Is it perhaps because of this that when in metaphysics we seem to have arranged by a new technique a new dawn we find ourselves again on Chirico’s sad terraces, where those whom we can never know still sit and it is neither night nor day?
We may hurry away and drown the cries that follow us from those silent places–drown them in endless talk, drown them in the whine of the saxophone of the roar from the stands. Or, more effective, we may quiet those phantasmal voices by doing something for people real and alive. But if we can’t we must return, force the accusers to speak up, and insist on recognizing the featureless faces. We can hardly do this by ourselves. But there are those who will go with us, and however terrifying the way, not desert us.
There are more values available for response in human life than anyone can possibly be responsible to.
I think of this as the Not World Enough and Time Problem: we are all missing out on things that are objectively such as not to be missed. That is the human predicament.
I am strongly tempted to think that a lure to relativism, and to psychologizing the values of others, is our desire to deny the Problem: we are never missing out; we just made different decisions, believed or desired different things, than so-and-so did. We aren’t missing out and neither is he, neither is she. But we know–and we do know–that in many cases we are missing out and that we will have to miss out. It may not be our fault, but it is always our loss.