the poets will save us!

Thank god there are still poets in the world. Peter Nicholson at 3QD:

I guess these people haven’t been reading Faust recently, wherein a pact with Mephistopoles has the scholar dabbling on the further shores of hubris. Goethe knew humility before the greatness of the world was essential for any real insight into meaning and purpose. The brave new future, where everything is going to have explicatory pins put through it is only going to end in tears before bedtime if we do not stay open to, and accept, the strangeness and marvellousness of our residence on Earth—’the beautiful’, in other words. This does not entail appeals to the higher superstition, throwing off scientific method or contracting intellectual discourse—the scientific imagination is beautiful too— but it does require an acknowledgment that one’s understanding is finite and that this circumscribed knowledge of the world leaves the vast whole, largely, a terra incognita. A great deal of our knowledge of the world comes to us through our feelings and how they perceive beauty, the gift unsought, and often importunate, but insisted upon.


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