7. Power of novelty

Life itself is not an event, but only the possibility of events. Its sweetness lies in the transition from the possible to the actual, sometimes in touching their boundary. The second, perhaps, is the sweetest. Childhood is a time of walking along this boundary. In adulthood, art allows us to feel the breath of possibility, but even more so any novelty, movement, the spirit of change.

It is the transition from possibility to reality that is important to the heart. The ‘achievements’ themselves are empty, they are always in the past, whereas the heart lives in the future, the past does not nourish it. (Not to be confused with the ‘past’ as the basis and soil of culture — here the stronghold of the past guards the present for the future.) The power of novelty is perhaps even stronger than the power of sex, and the combination of these forces is almost invincible.

However, speaking of the power of novelty over the soul, we should not forget that the psychologist has no right to speak about man in general, but only about what is known to him — most often about himself. There is perhaps no one ‘truth about man’; there are a number of rival truths from which the mind chooses its own — not arbitrarily, but by inner affinity. We can hardly judge ‘man’; individual human types are more accessible to understanding. The particular is often mistaken for the whole, just as knowledge of a certain type is sometimes passed off as knowledge of a person. Even more: whole epochs build their idea of man from the knowledge of one type, neglecting the others. An epoch is created by people of a certain fold and creates them. This fold, as far as one can tell, is innate, and blessed is the one who was born ‘in time’. With this caveat one can continue.

Novelty is like freedom: absence kills, excess stifles. The mind dries up without the new and drowns in its excess. Revolution promises novelty, and peoples follow it, although this ‘new’ is always of inferior quality compared to the ‘old’… In a way, culture — as a force of internal discipline, selection, qualitative evaluations — opposes the novelty, although it does not prevent the new from entering the world.

Why is the new so seductive? It dissolves old ties, abolishes questions without resolving them, allows us to forget, brings us back to the edge of the possible and the real — in general, it brings us back to the childlike state of freedom, lightness and unconditionality.

We say ‘novelty’ but we mean movement; one is the shortest way to the other. A vigorous, collected, receptive personality cannot be saturated with its own content, it needs movement, change of impressions, without them — inner darkness and longing. Depression is the feeling of a mind forced to be content with itself.

Movement satisfies a kind of hunger, but not in itself. There is also empty, non-nutritive movement: ‘sport’, the point of which is to free the mind from thoughts. ‘Muscular joy’ does not nourish the personality; what does nourish it is the joy of the mind from the increased flow of impressions. ‘Sport’ and personal development in general are somehow opposed to each other. Either we get a thinking and feeling personality or a ‘sporting’ personality.

With all this said, not every change of impressions is invigorating. The novelty of ‘wars and rumours of wars’, the novelty of illness are not nourishing; only the experience of the new, free from suffering and fear of loss, nourishes the soul…

Timofey Sherudilo.
From the book Twilight Time.

Back to Twilight Time

Views: 51