The M3 in heavy rain, seen from Twyford Down
Here is something I read over the summer that I found thought-provoking:
The words we constantly use and the narratives we write reinforce a drama of selfhood that we in the West complacently celebrate. There is also much consolation taken in the way in which writing and narrative can transform emotional pain into a form of entertainment, wise and poignant in its vision of our passage through the world, intense and thrilled by its own intensity. Narrative is so often the narrative of misery and of the passage through misery.Hmm, is King Lear cathartic or deeply unhelpful? As the exam papers say, Discuss... The Ten Thousand Things vs. No-Mind. Amphetamine vs. Prozac. An all-nighter vs. a good night's sleep.
What silence and meditation leaves us wondering, after we stand up, unexpectedly refreshed and well-disposed after an hour of stillness and silence, is whether there isn’t something deeply perverse in this culture of ours, even in its greatest achievements in narrative and art. So much of what we read, even when it is great entertainment, is deeply unhelpful.
From Inner Peace, an article on meditation by Tim Parks, Aeon, 26/7/2013