T.S. Elliot: FOUR QUARTETS and chasing the wind

Russell Minick Crown Heart World 0 Comments

T.S. Elliot presents a ride in the London subway as an emblem of the modern condition:

Strained, time-ridden faces

Distracted from distraction by distraction

Filled with fancies and empty of meaning

Tumid apathy with no concentration

Men and bits of paper, whirled in the cold wind

“What Eliot is saying, according to Howard, “has something to do with the odd business of being mortal … existing here and in time, when all the while we are profoundly dissatisfied with this dismal sequence of past, present, and future … that … drains things away.” This situation is all the more maddening when we are blessed—or cursed—with glimpses of something beyond time, something more than the “Years of living among the breakage.” Eliot calls these glimpses “timeless moments”, and he experienced such moments of sight and insight at the four places celebrated in Four Quartets.” – [excerpts from CT]

For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. – Ecclesiastes 2:23-26 

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