Monday, August 30, 2010

Out-of-body experiences

This photo shows a group of kayaking friends, on our return after a recent after-dark outing. I am in blue, to the right of Regina, who wears the headlight. It is strange to be out on the river after dark. I am rather night blind, don't like driving a car after dark. I keep comparing the return on the river to being in a sensory-deprivation tank. In the far distance were the perfectly visible lights of Manhattan and New Jersey, but I could see nothing in the near distance, except for the lights on the kayaks in front of me. I felt very confident in my paddling skills, but I could have been in outer space. It made me very aware of how much I depend on the sense of sight. I was reminded that Addison privileged sight in discussing the "primary pleasures of the imagination." In Spectator 411 he wrote: "Our Sight is the most perfect and most delightful of all our Senses. It fills the Mind with the largest Variety of Ideas, converses with its Objects at the greatest Distance, and continues the longest in Action without being tired or satiated with its proper Enjoyments. "

1 comment:

Zentrist said...

My last out-of-body experience (other than, at best, a fine TM session) was at the Led Zeppelin concert in Dallas in 1970, forty years ago this summer. There was only the sound of the music, nothing else. My eyes were closed--in more ways than one. It would be a couple more years before I'd hear of Joseph Addison. Today, for me, the word "spectacle" has a Platonic meaning that I always associate with the first lines of Plato's Republic--"we went down to the Piraeus, to see and to worship," as I vaguely recall. From acid to Allan Bloom's translation--in four years--it was quite a trip.