Saturday, August 23, 2008

Questions and Affirmations

Imagining with D. H. Lawrence

So let us leave the way of the question, and try again the older way of affirmation. We shall find that our mind now definitely moves in images, from image to image, and no longer is there a logical process, but a curious flitting motion from image to image according to some power of attraction, some sensuous association between images.

D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence compared the actions of AFFIRMATION with the actions of QUESTIONING. I want to further explore this comparison.

Lawrence’s thoughts can be found in a small non-fiction book titled, Apocalypse. It was originally published in 1931. The thoughts below, however, are mine... spring-boarding off, inspired by Lawrence’s thinking.


Questioning – perhaps a modern obsession (on the other hand, it is a method which has been around as long as there has been an assigned priesthood).

Questioning is what academics tend to do (among many others).

It is the process of never taking anything at face value, the process of always presuming that what one sees, what one hears, what one feels is not what it seems to be.

The true meaning, in the Questioning process, is only found deep underneath our perceptions.

The determination of meaning requires an archaeological-like process whereby layers of depth are successively exposed and interpreted, with a continual movement deeper.

Senses are not to be trusted; rather depths must be exposed, and meanings must be determined by priest-like specialists, interpreters such as academics, researchers and scientists.

When a questioning process is embraced, there is a turning away from the varied gifts which life might offer for fear that the experience of these gifts would be untrustworthy. Instead, there is a reliance upon constructions of meaning provided only by this new priesthood of experts.


Affirmations are actions which include a focus upon what one senses (for example, an emphasis upon image with Lawrence); a bodily acknowledgement of what one senses; and, in some way, a celebration of a world which enables such senses to emerge.

Affirmations emerge on a local, lived level; and they do not require priest-like experts to interpret what is experienced.

Affirmations show very little interest in depth – the abundance of life which awaits affirmation is almost always right at the surface... almost always right at hand.

If there were to be experts in the world of affirmation, those experts would probably be children and dogs.

Take a child to the beach and every pebble, every shell, every tiny shore-crab, every sandcastle, every seagull has the very real potential of emerging as an object of affirmation.

Affirmations are much more than words. They are responses to life which find expression, above all, in the body, in the face and hands. Words fit within acts of affirmation when they are responsive to the experiencing of life. A verbal responsivity must be fluent with the responsivity of body, face and hands.

Affirmations require the communal. While a singular body may sense and give response to given movements of life, the process of affirmation requires an additional level of response. Responsive action must be given to the initial responsive action before a sense of affirmation is produced. That is, affirmation requires two levels of affirmation – the affirmation of life, and the affirmation of the affirmation of life.

For it is not words that beget new things, it is feeling.

D. H. Lawrence

But now, instead of being naked vital man breast to breast with the vital cosmos, it is naked, disembodied mind losing itself in a naked and disembodied universe, a strange Nirvana.

D. H. Lawrence

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