Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Chiasmus and Paradox

This seems like a chiasmus, too, but I'm not sure... if you have a thought one way or another, please comment. Anyway, I liked it, so I'm putting it here:

I have found the paradox,
that if you love until it hurts,
there can be no more hurt,
only more love.
-- Mother Teresa

From this site on Biblical exegesis (thought it looked interesting but I haven't scanned it thoroughly enough to know whether I would agree with everything on it or not):

A fundamental principle when dealing with chiasmus is not to think linear, but concentric. We have been trained to think and outline in our western culture in a fashion incongruent with the literary patterns of both the ancient Near Eastern civilizations and the Graco-Roman. When we outline, we designate with an ever increasing alphanumeric point of harmonize with the progressive thoughts of a speech or book..

I have reached the firm conclusion that many of these (chiastic) symmetries were altogether subconscious, and that it was felt rather than seen. This is merely another way of saying that the writers had learned their forms so thoroughly that they had forgotten them as forms.

The talk of concentricism reminds me a bit of Chesterton's "henceforth the spiral works inward..." In an earlier part of Everlasting Man, Chesterton writes:

It is true, and even tautological, to say that the cross is the crux of the whole matter.....In other words the cross, in fact as well as figure, does really stand for the idea of breaking out of the circle that is everything and nothing. It does escape from the circular argument by which everything begins and ends in the mind. Since we are still dealing in symbols, it might be put in a parable in the form of that story about St. Francis, which says that the birds departing with his benediction could wing their way into the infinities of the four winds of heaven, their tracks making a vast cross upon the sky.

Sigh... I am trying to pull all that together but there it will have to stand for now.


Kaber said...

ack.. too many big words for my brain!!!! mt brain is too tired.....


Willa said...

I know what you mean, kaber, even though I was the blogger who perpetrated, I mean, wrote it.

I just got back from a dental visit and am now looking at this post at the top of my blog and saying to myself: WHAT was I thinking? I need to post something new to move it down -- LOL.