Posts Tagged ‘Richard Wilhelm’

I realise brevity is something I’m not very good at. I start a blog entry with a few opening lines and the next thing I know I’m up to a thousand words, with no conclusion in sight. I know only the most dedicated follower of the Rivendale Review will stick with me for that long, and that most of what I say is probably lost in a sea of text.

Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) said: “I write in order to know what I think”. I do this, in my fiction and my blogging. I explore issues that interest me. Writing them down is like tossing ideas against a wall and seeing what sticks. Anything that survives the process of self-editing is probably a fair indication to myself what it is I actually think. But I’m also reminded that Richard Wilhelm (1873-1930), the sinologist and translator of the I Ching said, rather sniffily, that there is always something laboured about the learning of the self taught – and maybe this comes across in my blogging as well.

I was taught a lot about engineering – most of it obsolete now – and to be honest at the grand old age of 51, I could quite happily retire from the day-job because it bores the pants off me. (a little too much honesty there methinks, Michael). Maybe I could write a snappy blog piece on aspects of engineering, for which I’ve had many a worthy guru, but I wouldn’t want to. What interests me, as an undercover mystic for most of my life, is writing increasingly mystical fiction, and exploring the world from a metaphysical angle. Unfortunately neither of these topics have any viable future, financially at least, so I suspect they’ll remain a closet activity even into my old age. Also, while these are clearly subjects that truly animate me, they’re also the subjects for which a teacher has been distinctly lacking.

And I think Wilhelm was right – without a teacher presenting us with those brevity-polished jewels of accepted wisdom, we self-taught adepts have to snuffle like wild boars in the mud, pondering, sifting, sniffing out anything that might polish up into a gem of serviceable wisdom. It makes us slow, ponderous, self-absorbed – and occasionally dangerous.

At the end of a day’s snuffling about in that metaphysical mud, we wild boars may know what it is we think, but we could never explain it in words of one syllable. It also makes our blog entries long and rambling.

Except this one.

And that was hard!

Graeme out.


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