I'm good with stones. After my last day in the wilderness, before going cosmopolitan in Bergen and Kristiansand, I imagine being Atlas, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. I don't want to leave. It's a good thing that stones, sometimes, don't wait for you to ask them questions. They can also do it. So, the stone I saw today, asked me: “are your lessons done?” anticipating a priori my next visit to Norway, which will be on the 6th of August. In principle, I have no reason to cry over Norway letting me go. I'll be back in Oslo in no time already, for a Leonard Cohen concert, which is why the stone anticipates his repertoire, by way of countering my sadness. “My lessons are done,” I answer it. And think simultaneously about how odd it is that however much we may resist it, we always voice the codes of ideology that rule in the country where we live. My statement to the stone thus presupposes a role I must have assumed at some point, I tell myself. Which is to teach something. Most of all I like to think that I'm good at teaching love. At least that's what my mother used to tell me. And she was a real master.

In the Western tradition of the relation between a master and a pupil, the belief in equity rules. The prevalent idea is that the master can also learn from the pupil, and not just teach. In traditions other than the Western, the master is not interested in the pupil from whom he can learn. The master is not a master for nothing. The master is only interested in the pupil who will exceed him in time—and after the lessons are done—and not the one who will teach him something in return along the way. I like the saying “when the pupil is ready, the master will appear,” for it means that a master never entices a student on the path to enlightenment. The student must come to the master on his own. Yet a master never acts against his instinct and knowledge, taken together, when, if approached by a pupil, he feels that the pupil is not ready. Even when the pupil insists. When the master says, “you're not ready,” and the pupil goes, “try me,” the true master never acts on this challenge, because the true master knows in advance that that is not true. In traditions with well established hierarchies where this ideology of refraining from action even when it is tempting to do the opposite is still prevalent—be that in Herman Hesse's book The Glass Bead Game or Oriental contexts that have retained a rigorous and uncontaminated approach to mastery and how to achieve it—it is easy to determine who the master is and who the apprentice is. In the Western context, which is flexible in its opening to incorporating the banal at the level where transcendence of the very banal is nonetheless desired—it is more difficult to think of who is doing what, for what purpose, and why. On a more mundane level, we also have manifestations of people wanting to teach other people something, yet it always goes wrong when there is no consensus on who the master is and who the apprentice is. The domestic scenario, “this woman is trying to change me, but I resist,” never really goes anywhere.

The desire to transcend transitory things such as sex or career plunges you into a state of solitude, as you place yourself above having to answer to ethical calls or having to fulfill duties towards others who expect you to do just that. When you are above, you're above, and your act of hovering above is bound to remain in a state of the ineffable where the rest are concerned. As a general rule, people will not get it. Placing yourself in a state above signification has this function: to free you from having to make any sense. This, people will not get either, especially if they want to have a relation with you. The few who do get it, however, join the club, or the cult, and the relation is thus one of pure energy. I like this state, as it bypasses even the concern with when to begin teaching, if you are a master, when to stop, if you started too early, or when to declare it an exercise in futility, when there is no feedback. I consider myself lucky to know a few people who have the ability to step into energy. Where all this energy goes, what we use it for, and why, only time can tell. Meanwhile, let us anticipate the ko(h)en's words: when the wise man said, "follow me," he walked behind.


Robert Gibbons said…
Beautiful. This, along with the most recent previous FB statement shrink most other FB posts in comparison, although we who are in the realm of such subjects are not in the habit of comparisons, preferring aesthetic appreciation to judgment.

Camelia's travels to Norway, here, & elsewhere, show evidence of passing the test of Time!! -rg

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