Hi I'm Philip Newey, author and editor. Here are some thoughts, ideas and other nonsense. I may, at times, express some views that offend some readers. I make no apologies for that. Read on at your own risk. Be sure to also visit my writer's page: http://philipnewey.com. I also run a manuscript services business called All-read-E: http://philipnewey.com/All-read-E.htm
Monday, November 19, 2012
Once, several years
ago, I remember standing in the centre of a stone circle, somewhere in
Cornwall. My partner at the time, I recall, was reluctant to enter. I felt no
such compunction. Whether such places have any intrinsic “magic”, I am not
sure. Certainly that place was open, bleak and windswept. Perhaps against such
unbridled space and formlessness, creating a circle is already a kind of magic.
Here is form. Here is enclosure. Here are edges and boundaries. And here we
are, once again, considering circles (see previous post).
Regardless of what one
might think about the numinous quality of particular times and places, the fact
that others have found a site significant, that they have been drawn to it
repeatedly, and have taken the time to give it form and structure, itself lends
significance to a place. I have felt the same way when viewing Aboriginal rock
paintings in Australia. Here, in this vast, terrifying, and occasionally
formless world people are declaring: Here I am. Here we are. I will shape
things. I will enclose and tame things.
Standing in that
circle, the wind whistling through the scrubby bushes, the horizon broken only
by low hills and tumbled boulders, it is possible to feel the aloneness that
our ancestors may have felt. Imagine a world in which the entire human
population may have numbered between 20 and 30 million, less than the
population of the greater Tokyo area today. The population of Britain was less
than 1 million. The world must have seemed a lonely place.
It is in places like that
stone circle where we can feel our roots reaching back, far back, into the
past. More than that, we can feel that past reaching into us. We are not so
very different from those people. We sometimes still find the world a
terrifying and dangerous place; we still seek to build walls behind which to
keep ourselves safe; we constantly struggle to bring form out of chaos. If I
search for ready-made meaning in the external world, I may be disappointed. But
what I can hope to do is create a little bubble of meaning out of the
surrounding chaos, much as our ancestors created circles from the stones
randomly scattered throughout their environment.