Image of the Nameless

God’s idiocy

is communicated by that

oh-so-shiny crow



Haiku — and poetic imagery in general — raise questions about how we perceive meaning in the world. Images “suggest” feelings, and feelings are rooted in experience just as concepts are, and language is how all this is communicated. Our situation is always “in language.”  If we call the meaning of an image “immanence” and the meaning of a concept “transcendence” — denoting the general function of concepts to “cover” or “name” many particulars —  we can discuss the image as a “tension” of immanence and transcendence. Even “God” talk is informed by this tension. From the Taoists to the Christian mystics, “God” is a piece of nonsense: the absolute cannot be named. What William Desmond calls “idiocy” points to this singularity of “God”: without which nothing makes sense (the verbal play on “nothing” an invitation to further speculation!).

I took a series of quick photos of a crow, and when I looked at the pictures, I found this one: just the shadow of the bird. The relation between the shadow and the bird I was chasing with my iPhone clicked into this conversation about God. And the “gap” between the bird and its shadow suggested the inner architecture of the two-part haiku: this shiny crow we know by its opaque shadow.  What lies between them is the observer’s (empty) self.




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