In the end, reading a great novel like Middlemarch or watching a Shakespeare tragedy for the memorable characters we desire to see and deepl/innerly need, we are back to the simple fact of presence–the individual presences of certain characters, much like those of certain people who flit through our essentially flux-full, evanescent lives.
Someone once asked me, Which is the best form of communication? And though one can get nuanced and deep via e-mail or with voice tones on the phone, live in-person presence is still the best and potentially most interesting and memorable mode, the others being mediated in various ways.
Earlier in this blog is a ‘bearings-framework’ piece on Presence and Non-presence, and what I’m taking about now is as easy to understand as those two concepts. If you want a more dramatic example, it is, of course, when someone close dies and is physically removed from one’s life forever. (Or if the non-presence is oneself.)
As well, when one encounters another remarkable person’s presence and consciousness in person, there is also the sensibility (often terribly coarse or sadly surfacely-limited in our time) to be reckoned with. And now we go beyond appearances–and whether we like the eyes, shape, or gait of someone–to talking about the inner or spiritual–which, after all, is what matters more than whatever glandular coupling of the tv-sitcom or online-dating-site variety.
So, the big questions in life become: Who or which people have the most interesting, appealing presences and significant sensibilities? Are they worth the time of day and the effort of getting to know? Do I make room for them for what they have to offer me, via the gifts of self, or do I look elsewhere?
And so the author asks himself on a daily basis, Where are those presences which most interest me? Where are the sensibilities that speak to me, my mind, and soul? And what closenesses or connections might thereby be forged with those persons, processes, and consciousnesses?
In that, appropriately enough, do I find my meanings and purposes this gloomy-looking Easter morn, 2014.