Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Make me whole

De Prufundis, an essay in the form of a letter written during imprisonment by Oscar Wilde, has such a beautiful ending.

Wild imagines how he would feel on the day of release, and he thinks of the flowers that would greet him.

I tremble with pleasure when I think that on the very day of my leaving prison both the laburnum and the lilac will be blooming in the gardens, and that I shall see the wind stir into restless beauty the swaying gold of the one, and make the other toss the pale purple of its plumes, so that all the air shall be Arabia for me.

Then the essay ends as Wilde ponders how he would still be rejected by society, but would be made whole by nature, who would cleanse him in great waters.

Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.

When I read this, I realized that all pieces of conventional reasoning about the famous "Mary's Room" thought experiment by Franck Jackson have been missing one crucial thing.

Mary, when she is released from her black-and-white world, and sees the wild flowers for the first time, would not only learn the color qualia but also weep, deeply moved, her very existence shuttered and them made anew, by her encounter with the brave new world.

She has been made whole.


nutty naughty flores said...

What s unique connection you found and magnetize me!

Anonymous said...

Which leads me to think about something else, none other than the state of our own nation (as usual). These days, we seem to have a much fewer number of young people willing to travel abroad. Worse yet, we have an enormous number of people staying within their rooms all day, shutting down all doors which surround them. Is it that we are all about to turn into the so-called "zombies", or is this rather because we are over-sensitive (excess qualia over pain?) of what lays outside and seeking internal peace?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps she would see the wild flowers and feel nothing for them. She may not know that wild flowers are beautiful. It may be the soil that she weeps over. Something new, the same as the old.

Anonymous said...

She will have to learn what is beautiful in colour. In the desert, red is not the same thing as it is in the forest. Color has meaning. Beauty has meaning.

Anonymous said...

The producers of the film "Gone with the Wind" were people who could see color. But the film was black and white. The fabric for the dress of Scarlett Ohara was used after a great deal of research, and chosen because it would give a "sense" of red. When the film was reproduced in color, many people did not like it. We do not know why they did not like it. Perhaps they were accustomed to the "sense" of red, and were disappointed with red as it really was? Or perhaps they were simply accustomed to one thing, and reluctant to move their attachment to another. Attachment makes it difficult for us to change from one world to another / or to change from virtual to real.

Anonymous said...

- and so, perhaps rather than becoming whole, she became fractured.

I don't like this color, she said.

I want to go back to my room.

Anonymous said...