No.2: Kepler’s rapture
I give myself over to my rapture. The die is cast. Nothing I have ever felt before is like this. I tremble. My blood leaps. God has waited six thousand years for a looker-on to his work. His wisdom is infinite. That of which we are ignorant is contained in him, as well as the little that we know.
– Kepler on his discovery of the planets’ motion
– Karen Blixen, Out of Africa, Penguin, 1954, p.208
And here are some links.
Hey Mr.Tambourine man, play a song for me,
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to.
Hey! Mr.Tambourine man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you.
This is as fine a rapture as rock’n’roll has produced. Its resonances are everywhere. Not just Shiva and Dionysus, the gods of ecstasy and destruction; not just Eros, “who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of gods and men”; not just Jack Kerouac extolling the mad ones, burning instead of yawning; not just Janis Joplin, described at the height of her powers as “a mixture of Lead Belly, a steam engine, Calamity Jane, Bessie Smith, an oil derrick, and rot-gut bourbon funneled into the 20th century somewhere between El Paso and San Francisco”; not even Guns ‘N Roses, “who sure like to trash the fuck out of themselves.” We’re talking about the whole human race. We operate under extreme pressure. People have been going under ever since we kicked off 3 million years ago.
Rock’n’roll has its share of mavericks – the ones who have to find their own way through and who don’t pay much heed to received ideas. Van Morrison is one. Since he was a child, he’s been hit by what he calls ‘my rapture’. It’s like I’m receiving some sort of inner direction – and he wants to find out more about it.
Whether it’s simple ecstasy, obliterating rapture or withdrawal to the core, doesn’t matter. The world contains order and departures from it – improvisation and silence. Our normal, waking, rational consciousness is not the only one:
all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there are potential forms of consciousness entirely different…No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.
Angelic realms tremble – out of love, out of worship. Look for a lovely thing and you will find it. It is not far. It will never be far. How come? Because what we are looking for is actually calling us.