Gathering the Appearances: Poetic Innocence & Tradition

A discussion of the poetic gathering of appearances in connection with innocence and tradition. Revisiting Heidegger’s treatment of Hölderlin, we compare this poetic approach with holistic approaches to science. The relationship of image to the questions of how we see and dwell in our world also comes up. The pure heart of Hölderlin and the poetic innocence of Yeats come together as well to show an alternative to the ‘flattening’ of our world by technology. In addition, the writing of Kathleen Raine and Philip Sherrard is important in aiding the discussion.

References within this episode presume awareness of previous discussions.  See Love the Questions: Poetic Measure & The Unknown (Episode 029). Also, Poetic Measure and the Sacred: Raine, Heidegger, Sherrard (Episode 028).

I Gathering and Dwelling

The discussion opens with a look at Heidegger’s treatment of Hölderlin. ‘Gathering the appearances’ is means by which poetic dwelling occurs. In this respect, there is a similarity to holistic approaches to science. For instance, Bortoft’s Goethean approach involves ‘Taking Appearance Seriously.’ Barfield writes of ‘Saving the Appearances.’ For more on Bortoft, see (especially). Not Your Grandfather’s Empiricism (Episode 006).  Let It Be (Episode 007). For more on Barfield see (especially). Collective Representation or ‘Is It Really There?’ (Episode 010)Sense and Non-Sense (Episode 011)Dashboard Knowledge and Technology (Episode 013).

There are similarities in discussing the limitations of the modern scientific approach and in explaining the essence of what it means to dwell poetically. They point toward our relationship with nature. The crux of the matter deals with how we see and contemplate that which shows itself to us.  Our aim is, therefore, to relate to experience or appearance without immediately reducing it. We tend to remove ourselves from appearances and return to that with which we are familiar.

II The Image

We then build upon previous discussions of Heidegger, Raine, etc., and the role of image. Furthermore, the mechanistic worldview itself has roots in an image, from which we also see ourselves.  Image is at the root of cosmology. Eventually, we connect this to the notion of the ‘flattening’ and to the work of Philip Sherrard on sacred cosmology.

III Historical versus Metaphysical

In discussing the difficult notion of non-quantitative measure in poetry, we then turn to Kathleen Raine. Raine’s contrast between Eliot and Yeats seems especially relevant. With Eliot, his poetry reflects the ‘known’ and the ‘historical tradition.’ While with Yeats, there is the presence of the ‘unknown’ as well.  Here we have rather the ‘metaphysical Tradition’ (capitalized in reference to the tradition of the sophia perennis).

IV Announcement

In addition to the discussion of poetry, I also address the coming next phase of the Wholly Orders project.


A Prayer for My Daughter,” by William Butler Yeats

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