Metanoia, hiraeth, and hauntology
Rational fragmentation and moving beyond the small mind
Once upon a time, the way we saw the world was to listen, to touch, to see Spirit at work in our world.
More and more, I am leaning toward The Fall, as an important story about the birth of the ego. A story about leaving the wild pre-neolithic caves… the womb-dark places where fire flickered on animal walls and shape shifted our imaginations.
It was bound to happen, but has set us on a trajectory that ever since, has made us long for home. Has made us sense that something has been misplaced, or a shape within us is gaping for consummation. The gap continues to widen as we reach across chasms, in a world where many are now dying alone, without touch, without the breath of their beloveds in their ear. Without rituals to sing them home.
There is a Welsh word - hiraeth - which implies a homesickness that we can’t quite ever touch, but that haunts us in an ever present ache situated in that tender part of our chest.
Another word - hauntology - originally coined by French philosopher Jaques Derrida, which actually, is a loose category of music that awakens deep memory of apparently by-gone cultures.
Another word, a Greek word - metanoia - which, since translated into Latin, became the placeholder for ‘repent’ or ‘penance’… paenitentia. But even Tertullian protested this translation by saying “metanoia does not mean a confession of sins, but a change of mind.”
This is the word you will find in today’s song.
Someone once told me that they were triggered by the phrase “move beyond your small mind”, because they had not fit into the academic boxes expected of them in school. So I dipped into this a bit more, and let their trigger sit with my heart.
“Move beyond your small mind”, has nothing to do with academic prowess. On the contrary… it is ironically describing the blind spot of the rational eye. The myopic, telescopic nature of only using our “big brains” as Kurt Vonnegut described us in Galápagos.
This way of seeing nullifies life, and makes everyone and everything a mere relic.
I suspect that spending time with this chant in this context, could do a world of good for us pilgrims who don’t know whether to go back or go forth. Pressed from our descendants and from our ancestors to somehow reintegrate a devotion to the infinite.
The cartography we might work with is to explore what it looks like to go back and forward simultaneously, and at the very least, to see how little maturation we hold in other ways of being. Perhaps to develop our ears, the touch of things, wide angles and prisms of light and shadow, the scent of divine mystery in everyone and everything.
Welcome to this new space, where I will be offering prose, music, and this sort of time travel.
Thank you... your words and music this day drew me into the unnamed place of longing I am familiar with... blessings for speaking to the mystery that is home to us.
I am reminded of Trevor Herriot's book, Jacob's Wound, in which he talks about agriculture and written language as being the agents of our expulsion?/leaving? Eden. We are a spiritually wounded people, forever missing home, as you have articulated here.