The segment of Fontegaia posted yesterday (#3) - seems like one of the best of the bunch. Underneath the kidding around, it emerged from some pondering about the nature of language, especially religious language.

Ever since Yeats ("go in fear of abstraction"), Pound, & the Imagists - if not long before - poetic language is contrasted with various kinds of abstract discourse. But it's possible to think of a poetry (Stevens, for example) which goes over into "enemy" territory - tries to grapple with the nature of linguistic abstraction.

In the background of my poem here, I'm thinking about the universal application of Biblical principles - say the 10 commandments, the Proverbs, the Sermon on the Mount. Or even about more seemingly general notions, like "God".

If you imagine this language as a set of general laws or principles, which only make sense within the "local" context of particular persons & situations; and then if you add this concept to another concept - that of the idea of Man as "imago dei" - the image of the creator-God on earth; then the outcome is, I think, that you can begin to conceive of religion in a subjective, inward, personal & individual way. In other words, the language of religious doctrines or religious knowledge only makes sense as you apply it yourself, in your own mind, in your own actions. It's like a tool kit rather than a positive description or ontology. It's universally-applicable, but meaningless unless you make it mean something. (Is this pragmatism?) (cf. Stevens : "Two Illustrations That the World Is What You Make of It")

& this rhymes with Roger Williams' notion of "soul liberty" - the primary, irreducible (& irreducibly free) relationship between the individual person and God's divine love. One can also "read" Christ's statements about his own work as leading in this same direction : the "Son of Man" (ie. Everyman, Man in the abstract) is the locus & benchmark of all meaning; God is not "outside", but is manifested by the "Son of Man"; the Word of the Gospel is universally applicable and everlasting; and "my word shall be your judge on the Last Day" (ie. the abstract "laws" of divine Love are reflected - inexorably - in the existential results of each person's attitude and actions toward same). (p.s. I know my interpretation of the term "Son of Man" - as Everyman - is probably not the usual or ordinary one.)

This seems like a very arguable & very American (Emersonian) set of ideas... which I am still trying to figure out for myself... no final attitude yet.

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