Barred From Eliot’s Heaven

According to Little Gidding, our exasperated spirits may be “restored by that refining fire, Where you must move in measure, like a dancer”.

In that case I myself am doomed, because I have never had the slightest understanding of why human beings perform this thing called dancing. From the outside, I might be able to see how some kind of subjection of our fallen wills to given rules could be what the poet means by “moving in measure”. Not being a psychopath, I can assent to that in theory. I can obey rules, certainly, but nevertheless cannot begin to dance, neither formally nor even in the modern throwing-your-arms-about sense.

Being unable to do the latter might have something to do with my fear of making a public idiot of myself, which is unfortunately stronger than anything else I might want to “express”. Perhaps that is the sin of pride.

Not being able to follow a dance of formal steps, whether as waltz or barn-dance, may be something different. It is probably related to a lack of understanding of one’s place in the world, and that in turn is almost certainly something that adults can create in their offspring. All they need to do is to define the child not primarily in relation to the larger world, but in relation to their own selves, in intimate isolation. Clearly all infants begin that way, but they ought not to be kept there. Then again, to riff on Schiller’s famous quote: against the narcissistic parent’s need for a pet, the gods themselves struggle in vain.

Posted on September 18, 2010 at 16:01 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

One Response

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by The Ghost in the Machine
    on February 22, 2018 at 14:45

    So you have not found that sex can lead to dancing?

Subscribe to comments via RSS

Leave a Reply