Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

Any time you write a word down and stare at it, it begins to look funny. Actually, I find the same with just saying a word and listening to it; after a while you hear the raw sounds and begin to wonder why that particular combination of sounds should mean anything at all, let alone the meaning we've assigned. Lump that in with the variations of meaning that a word acquires in its journey through the language and it's quite a peculiar jumble of meaning and sound and being.

I've been thinking of "matter" a lot lately. Listening to it. Hearing it in my own sentences.

Matter. Noun. Stuff. What stuff is made of. What universes are made of. Material. Thing-ness. Yin. Tangibility.

There's some discussion of the etymology of matter. One of the possibilities is that it has a commonality with "mater", mother. Very yin then, yes? The stuff of bodies, the stuff that brings forth other stuff. All bodies make themselves known, but womens' bodies tie so very much into the earth and the water that it's hard to ignore that clay we are, and clay we shall be. We are matter.

Matter. Noun, but not so very tangible. The matter at hand. The situation. And what does every situation do but bring to birth other situations? A matrix for the matter. Things happen, and then other things happen...

But do they matter? Verb. Do they carry import? What does it mean? Does it mean anything?

When I look out, I see matter. I see stuff, and things, and situations. But does anything matter? To whom? And why? And is it real?

Nothing matters anymore. I can't decide whether that's clear reality or I'm missing such a vital piece that nothing else makes sense without it.

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

And if that's where matters stand...

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