As in Lit, so in life

Meaning isn't a given, it is a process.
It involves an interaction between the reader, text, author, culture, history, etc. There is great agency given to us in this demand for interpretation.

This is in my notes for my modern literature course. My instructor said this, summing up the course work for the week. The above are three sentences that I just might put in the front of my volume of ELW work when I'm done with this degree. And as in Lit, so in life.

I'm a sphere. You're a sphere. We exist in an ecosystem of souls - spheres, with gravitational pull and polarities. From within our spheres, we see out. From outside your sphere, I see you, through all the layers of my own sphere, deep inside the layers of yours.

Inside your sphere, you have the responsibility to keep the fluid clear and clean and healthful; if you don't do this - if you don't confess your foibles and own your successes and take your place in the ecosystem - your fluid becomes murky. Toxic. Deadly. If this goes on long enough or badly enough, you become toxic to everything around you. Your walls will not contain that sort of thing - it becomes a polluting oil slick.

Outside your sphere, you move through life's seasons and situations, gathering up the stuff you move through while your veneer rubs off. What you're made of will show through eventually, if you live long enough. In the end, you will not have your sphere's walls. I will not have mine.

And in the meantime? In the meantime, we make our view of the world more and more clear ... or less so. We look out from inside of ourselves, and we, the readers in life, interact with text and context, culture and history, experience and memory, understanding and will.

Meaning is a process. Selfhood takes time. And although it is true that a person can only choose from among the present options (it's just not possible to choose to make the killer leave you alone if you live in Darfour, nor find food for your children in Sierra Leone), it is true that among your real world options, if you live in a place that has access to this blog, you can choose clarity in your sphere. You have to choose it over and over. We have to choose our process every day. All the time. There is great agency given to us. Humans choose.

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