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Istanbul, Athens or Rome

Updated on May 14, 2017
Pamuk's Istanbul
Pamuk's Istanbul

I'd like to live...

in an old manor house in a city like Istanbul or Athens (or Rome, which is not affordable anymore) and be an author (Orhan Pamuk comes to mind). And just lecture by invitation... There's no point to teaching young students pursuing a degree, they're not ready to be my audience...Of course, people like myself have a short career...Even if we succeed we succeed in our 60s leaving from ten to twenty or maybe thirty years of teaching/speaking....And of course, the public has to go looking for us anyway—we almost never make the papers or television; How can we compete with the truly great minds like Madonna?

Another old world manor...

house that comes to mind is the one where Krishnamurti was a guest in 1955 on the outskirts of Athens (down the street from the Prime Minister's house) where I also was a guest of an old world gentleman who worked for the Greek ministry of culture and who did me the honour of reading a book I wrote long ago. They called it a thesis at McGill because it had to have references (since they didn't understand that true knowledge comes from the Source—not references); But anyway, (not) surprisingly it was in Greece where they had some idea of what Plato had been talking about—not Oxbridge—and where the humanities, if they've been co-opted by anyone, it's the Christian Church, and not the Ministry of Science and Technology as in Anglo-Saxon countries.

We need time to learn things. We need leisure to think and figure things out. That's why this has always been the proclivity of the blue bloods (and not the working class—professional or otherwise). Though sometimes people are inducted (as Krishnamurti was) into this leisure class, while at other times they are exiled from it and work against the grain to produce something like The Divine Comedy....

And sometimes an ol world gentleman, retreats from the cacophony of the hoi polloi and hides away inconspicuously in this invisible manor, especially if his family has been forgotten and his star is on the receding end...working quietly by night after rising before sunrise and venturing out only to meet with a few souls or buy groceries or enjoy a coffee nearby in historic cafes where he'll be recognised by the staff (and if you're lucky enough to be there, the waiter will point out this Nobel Prize winner from thirty years back) whose book you may have admired for a minute or two during your undergraduate years when you had not the time to really savour anything, so quickly were you prodded to skim over your studies by overnight specialists who have never really savoured the books in question themselves...because they needed to professionalise their studies into money and the family and children and mistresses that follow with perceived worldly success...

So we work...

quietly in forgotten manor houses that stand as museums of the mind honouring dead giants for whom poetry, science, music and art are inflections of the same expression to something 'divine' — which literally means "of the light" because we the artists and philosophers (creators of the canon from Kanonikos) have simply done one very simple thing—so simple is it that no one will believe it, no one! Save a little child; because it can only be faithfully described in the language of children...So simple is it, so direct, so clear to the mind, that only the simple language of children can capture it...And therefore it can only be seen by children and adults who have cleansed themselves and baptised themselves into this simplicity...Imagine a world that is seen only by animals, children and "cleansed" adults (all five of them) simply by recovering the hearing they had in that fabled garden where this "Light" spoke to them...

And this expression...

from that early garden when our ancestors still had their clear eyes and unblocked ears can fill volumes upon volumes because all the words are joined. They are joined because they don't come collected by men called lexicographers who toil over limiting their meanings to objects that can be named by them...but instead come attached to the other words in their set — that is the set of things joined to each other by a root word that stretches across the cosmos of meaning...this root word was part of a constellation of words (two hundred of them) that named everything that existed in that garden that had light because it was an early garden that had only recently crystalised into solids, recently that is from the reference point of the beginning which was not only a beginning for time but also for space and everything else that appears to exist as a background for us mortals who have now lost the light over so many times as to have forgotten it all together thinking these stories of the garden to be myths and fables for children only...

Mr. Pamuk in the Balat neighborhood of Istanbul.
Mr. Pamuk in the Balat neighborhood of Istanbul. | Source

But some men,

like Mr. Pamuk, took the time recently from the reference point of nowadays, to write about one such word and fill a whole chapter in a book of his named Istanbul. Yes, you know dear reader, this word is "Huzun" and it is not translatable into modern languages (as with Pathos) because any translation would divide the word into only one meaning of the many sister meanings it has in its own language...

And Mr. Pamuk, if he had the time to write for men suffering from this amnesia of the light, he could write about the entire history of the world by transversing it with the help of one chapter devoted to each of the first 200 words which are all linked together...

And children intuitively know (as do the animals) these 200 words name everything which is why they are amazed that these words would repeat themselves by naming more than one thing — since something linked to everything would have no need to multiply itself. They are also amazed that these words contain many things as if they were infinitely divisible by the many things they name, and are named by, since that is how we know these words in the first place, except that originally the space between the name and the thing named was murky and animated...

So it is not so clear whether the world of names came into being by multiplication or division. Indeed, this confused even great men of old who pondered these questions from Athens to India. For this reason the poets created music, rhythm and rhyme to stretch out the sound enough to include everything that was happening even if this was only an appearance...

© 2014 James Bardis


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    • profile image

      hadou lemine 

      21 months ago

      i like rome and istanbul


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