Friday, 30 November 2007

A noiseless, patient spider

Today is the Feast of St. Andrew (“the first of the Apostles to be called”) - a time – for me - to remember the other two great Andrei: Andrei Roublev and Andrei Tarkovsky. In Sculpting in Time Tarkovsky was to write: “It seems to me that the individual today stands at a crossroads, faced with the choice of whether to pursue the existence of a blind consumer, subject to the implacable march of new technology and the endless multiplication of material goods, or to seek out a way that will lead to spiritual responsibility, a way that ultimately might mean not only his personal salvation but also the saving of society at large; in other words to turn to God. He has to resolve his dilemma for himself, for only he can discover his own spiritual life. Resolving it may take him closer to the state in which he can be responsible for society., that is the step which becomes a sacrifice, in the Christian sense of self-sacrifice.” His words seem to somehow echo the lyrics of Walt Whitman, who was also concerned of forming bridges of communication, like a “noiseless, patient spider’ does when it launches forth, out of itself, filament after filament, till the gossamer thread it flings eventually catches somewhere:

A noiseless, patient spider,

I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;

Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,

It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;

Ever unreeling them - ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,

Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,

Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing - seeking the spheres, to connect them;

Till the bridge you will need, be form'd - till the ductile anchor hold;

Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.

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