“Hold every moment sacred. Give each clarity and meaning, each the weight of thine awareness, each its true and due fulfillment” (Thomas Mann).
THERE IS TOO MUCH FUZZINESS IN MOST OF OUR LIVES. What should be sharp and clear is often indistinct and cloudy. We need to bring some clarity to the business of living — and also of loving.
Clarity in our thinking. Since our actions are the consequence of our thinking, we need to think clearly. Sometimes, however, we don’t work very hard at doing this, even on important subjects. Alfred North Whitehead once spoke of a certain philosophy as “an adventure in the clarification of thought.” If you know the philosophy of which he spoke, you may doubt whether it made things any clearer, but still, his expression, “an adventure in the clarification of thought,” is interesting. How long has it been since you’ve embarked on an adventure like that? How recently has your thinking been clarified?
Clarity in our relationships. Sometimes our relationships lack quality because they’re ill-defined. We haven’t made the effort to know the other person clearly, and we haven’t given them the chance to know us clearly — so things are a little foggy. How much better it would be if we clarified things with openness, humility, and courage.
Perhaps we find it difficult to think and speak and relate to others clearly because we don’t experience things clearly ourselves. And maybe that’s because so much of our experience now is “synthetic.” Cut off from the clarity of things in the natural world, our minds are fed primarily by the flickering images on computer monitors, televisions, and movie screens. As wonderful as these media are, they can never present more than a vague representation of original reality. Out of touch with sharply defined reality itself, it’s no surprise that our thinking loses a bit of focus. So we would do well to “clear up” our intellect and our imaginations more often by directly experiencing the creatures and creations that call to us outside our doors. Things that are clear in themselves can help keep our minds clear.
There is a poignancy in all things clear,
In the stare of the deer, in the ring of a hammer in the morning.
Seeing a bucket of perfectly lucid water
We fall to imagining prodigious honesties.