Thursday, July 23, 2020

habit - fear - security - exclusion


 For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room,
 it appears evident that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, 
a place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and down. 

Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous insecurity
 is so much more human which drives the prisoners in Poe’s stories
 to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons 
and not be strangers to the
 unspeakable terror of their abode.

We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about us, 
and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.
 We are set down in life as in the element to which we best correspond,
 and over and above this we have through thousands of years 
of accommodation become so like this life, that when we hold still
 we are, through a happy mimicry, scarcely to be distinguished
 from all that surrounds us. 

We have no reason to mistrust our world, 
for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, 
those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them.
 And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels
 us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems
 to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful.

 How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons
 that at the last moment turn into princesses; 

perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting 
to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its 
deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke