I believe that there are many people who believe in magic. Not the Harry Potter stuff but the magic that accompanies that sense of awe we often experience when we are confronted by the true magnificence of the world. Magic is a good term because, at those moments, the reality of the world appears inexplicable. At such moments, the informed words of scientists and researchers seem futile and unconvincing. Poetic faith arises out of a sense of oneness with nature. Science breaks apart oneness. Poetic faith comes from a poetic spirit. A poetic spirit is a state of mind, (it is not necessarily related to a person’s aptitude to write or read poetry). It is not an encounter with verse that creates a poetic spirit but an encounter with the magic of experience.

The poetic spirit sews brokenness together and sees meaning and harmony in places where others see only chaos. It can do this because the poetic spirit occupies the present moment and does not lose itself in abstract ideas about past and future. It does not look around and see memories and possibilities, rather it sees into and beyond surface reality. Its vision penetrates deeper to the layers of meaning that exist beyond language and concept. When poetic faith sees this, it imagines it has seen a glimpse of God, (or the Ultimate or the Absolute…) Poetic faith sees the magic of existence at the depth of experience and calls it divine.

And that is it. There is nothing more. As soon as wordless reality is experienced, words and ideas invade to formulise, categorise and break down all aspect of the experience. And then the experiencer is left with doubt. To pass it on, to share that moment, the experience will need to be broken down further. Then it is lost to the bare bones of memory. The skills of the writer-poet may help her/him to describe the moment better than most. Can words alone induce an experience beyond words? I’m not sure. I certainly do not have the creative skills to do that.

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  • I kinda see science as doing all the things that you see poetry doing. Don’t see it as destroying one Ness but as highliting the links and interdependence of all organisms. Poetry and science are like spirituality and science they are describing the same magic in different languages. Maybe problem is human perception and our tendency to meet phenomena with logic. How can we reconcile the plurality of the known world as seen through 7 billion different brains with logic? Maybe we need poetry to come close to understanding reality at all.

    • The problem with science is that it concerns itself with only the aspects of reality that it can measure and quantify. The spiritual aspects are ignored… Thus science only gives us a partial understanding of reality as experienced by humans. Poetry tries to give a more wholistic understanding of human experience that includes, to a certain degree, a scientific understanding…

  • Yes but it’s how you engage with it. I got the same sense of awe reading carl sagan cosmos as I did reading the waste land. Surely science and poetry are the medium for knowledge but the understanding comes from how they are presented and more critically how we engage with them. I can feel a ‘higher cobsciousness’ at work in the contemplation of of William Blake poetry as much as I can from reading theories on how black holes are formed or on Einstein theory of general relativity. Don’t forget Einstein wasn’t a logician. He wasn’t even any good at maths. He was a visionary dare I say with a ‘poetic’ imagination.

    • Both atheist scientists and spiritual scientists both agree on the awesomeness of the nature of reality. The former because s/he sees the universe as being a highly improbable but meaningless accident and the latter because s/he sees the universe as being the meaningful work of some creator… 🙂

  • If you want to see science nicely reconciled with poetry see carlo rovelli’s Order of time. Nothing logical about modern theories on physics I know you read all that stuff.

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