Monday, 9 November 2015

Encouraging lessons of the Golden Thread

The Golden Thread is a person's real autobiography - the sequence of deep, significant, mythic-seeming, remembered experiences stretching back into childhood like a Golden Thread.

That we have such a thing, and know we have it, is a cause for gratitude and could be seen as evidence of our relationship with a personal god - because we do not experience our life as merely the present built on nothing more than oblivion; and our life is unique.

In a sense, our Golden Thread is incommunicable, a secret reality - certainly it is not always communicated, and attempts to communicate it may prove futile as we may fail to put it into effective words, and other people may not be interested. Indeed there is no reason why others should be interested in the special significance we feel about incidents and thoughts that may seem utterly individual and trivial when placed into the public arena.

The fact that a great novelist might be able to show us the transcendent importance of the tiny incidents of everyday life does not mean that this aptitude is general. If I were to describe to you an incident from my own Golden Thread, it would indeed require something like the structure of a novel to be placed around it, for you to be able to grasp what it was about that particular moment which was so important to me... but the fact is that, in most instances, I do not know the reason.

Man is not an island, and we cannot live from our memories alone - nor are we supposed to. In a sense we live-off hope more than from memories - but the 'we' that lives comes partly from the past, and some experiences shape us far more than others, and the most significant experiences are not necessarily the most impressive, nor are they those the significance of which we can articulate most effectively. This is the mystery and depth of the Golden Thread phenomenon.

But why think about it at all? I suppose many or most people do not, in fact, think much about such matters - although who knows for sure what the scale of importance really is for others.  

From my own experience, I find the reasons why thinking about such matters feels like 'a good thing' is that it makes for a mythic sense of my own life.

Instead of life being a detached sequence of this then this, passively experienced as being caused, mostly influenced from outside, mostly of little interest or approval to others... there is instead the experience of life as significant, our specific life as being bound-up-with, involved with, the world; a sense of unrolling yet unpredictable destiny, where the past makes some kind of sense and therefore - presumably - the future also will.

This is simply given to each of us as a phenomenological reality - the reality of subjective, inner, experience - by the existence of the Golden Thread and the experience of thinking about it.

The necessary additional step we may chose to make is to believe that all this is just what it seems: a kind of knowledge - something true, real, significant.  

1 comment:

Adam G. said...

Thank you very much.

The past and the future are one of those great mysteries that are right in front of us.