What are letters? They are symbolic representations of various sounds. Each, in itself, carries no meaning past this representation of sound. In combination, however, they transport us to limitless possibilities, allowing us to share experiences that are otherwise imprisoned within the confines of our individual realities.
Words — letters in combination — are the vehicles of meaning, and beyond words, groups of words become transmitters of perception, the senses, and intangible beyonds. The greatness of artistic expression is made real in these vehicles of meaning along with their sisters in music — notes; and in the visual arts — paint and stone; and in dance, the movement of the body. These languages have been successful because they work in unity, with a common purpose.
Let us imagine what might happen if each and every letter had its own agenda, if each competed for “betterness”, if each undermined its sisters and brothers to gain ascendency, if each fabricated “truths” about itself to influence other letters to shun others. Imagine the cacophony if this example were applied to music, the tragedy of injury if the medium were dance.
Are you and I not all, each and every one, such letters and notes? When we look up at the star-studded night sky, when we know that the sun will faithfully illuminate the earth each and every day, when we witness the great circle of life that lets each of us exist, or the sub-atomic particles that we can’t see but we know are there in every tiny part of creation, can we imagine what might happen if each individual element danced to its own tune, if each element thought it was better, or deserved more?
Should we not look at life in this way, at each other, and at the physical matrix that surrounds us? Are we autonomous individuals, each out for our own good, or are we component parts of a single organism — the human race? And, is this human race, the witness and conscience of creation, independent of the universe, of nature, or are we a part of it, with a role to play, so as to ensure that each and every component part reaches its ultimate potential, its paradise? Are we masters of the universe or are we servants trusted with each other’s well-being? Will we be custodians of nature? Are we willing to sacrifice to right the litany of wrongs in which we have all had a part? Will we help our neighbour to do the same?
At this juncture, we are all well aware of history’s injustices, of that which can never be restored. So I ask, looking at the broken and bruised body of humankind lying on the wayside of history, what does one do first — put bandages on cuts and provide physiotherapy or unite this broken body so that its wonderful parts can once again or perhaps for the first time function together as the inconceivably beautiful and privileged whole it was intended to be?
To do this, we need first to see, and then to look at each moment, at each person. Looking — seeing — becomes a language. The details we see are letters that become words that become concepts which, if captured, inform our experience of life, our relationships with others. Looking — seeing — seeking beyond the obvious becomes an itch, an obsession, a transportation.
I wish this joy for everyone.