Paradox and Bedrock

Listen to Edward Abbey (from Desert Solitaire:  A Season in the Wilderness)….

Near the first group of arches, looming over a bend in the road, is a balanced rock about fifty feet high, mounted on a pedestal of equal height; it looks like a head from Easter Island, a stone god or a petrified ogre.

Like a god, like an ogre?  The personification of the natural is exactly the tendency I wish to suppress in myself, to eliminate for good.  I am here not only to evade for a while the clamor and filth and confusion of the cultural apparatus but also to confront, immediately and directly if it’s possible, the bare bones of existence, the elemental and fundamental, the bedrock which sustains us.  I want to be able to look at and into a juniper tree, a piece of quartz, a vulture, a spider, and see it as it is in itself, devoid of all humanly ascribed qualities, anti-Kantian, even the categories of scientific description.  To meet God or Medusa face to face, even if it means risking everything human in myself.  I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with a non-human world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate.  Paradox and bedrock.

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