6.13.11 The Virtue of Hiding & Being Hidden

Not everything has to be transparent. Exposed. Illuminated.

Film director Werner Herzog has ranted as such in his lash outs toward psychology (and took some colorful jabs at American yoga, Buddhism, and self-reflection in general while he was at it) what he calls one of the 20th century’s big mistakes. His point, if somewhat over-stated, is that we human beings don’t need to have everything in our psyche exposed, analyzed, and explained away.

A house, Herzog suggests, in which every shadow, every cranny is lit up is uninhabitable. A person, he extends the analogy, who also tries to have everything about herself explained becomes uninhabitable.

I sympathize with his point (although I wouldn’t throw away the psychology baby with the neurotic bathwater).

There is virtue in woods over meadows. In shadows. Crannies. Hidden spaces in a house where one can steal away in reverie. In harmless secrets of the imagination. In question marks and mysteries. In living in fertile confusion instead of sterile certainty. In living in a hut of questions instead of an ivory tower of know-it-all-ness.

Of pockets and drawers and handmade boxes within boxes. Of kisses with unknown motives. Of flowers delivered from an unknown source.

Of being, like Emily Dickinson and Odysseus, a “nobody” for a day or for a year or two or three. Of not announcing. Of emulating a heron instead of a peacock. Of being Daphne instead of Apollo.

Sometimes the best moments of a day are quiet and solitary, invisible and hidden.

What were your day’s three highlights? Share them below – and let us know where you’re writing from. (Or if you want to keep some of your highlights hidden, well, tease us with some clues!)

See you – yes – in the woods,
The 3 Highlights Guy


4 responses to “6.13.11 The Virtue of Hiding & Being Hidden

  1. I like the nooks, crannies and darkness that thrive in my Rilkean loving & living the questions rather than chasing the cookie cutter recipe into the cultural high beams marked THE way.

    That being said: highlights include Emma actually enjoying her first day of algebra and her willingness to show up with Mama~advocate by her side. My lusty afternoon nap. Writing time this morning on my porch.

    Happy Monday!

  2. 1) took myself out to breakfast at my favorite breakfast spot on my last day of vacation before going back to work, having a delicious and seasonal meal and doing a bit of writing.
    2) spent some quiet time in the garden in an unhurried way, trimming and tying up the rambunctious pea vines more securely, in the warm but not too warm afternoon sun.
    3) sat out on the deck in the warm/cool early evening with a glass of good wine and spent time with the beginning of a book by one of my current favorite authors.

    Peggy, in western Oregon

  3. Rilke and living the question – a key inspiration.

    1. sitting with my girl on the back porch and waving to the birds.
    2. a flow of four meetings with four marvelous clients. So grateful for them.
    3. reading Michael Lang’s The Road to Woodstock in bed with my wife’s head resting on my stomach as she falls asleep.
    from Accord, New York

  4. Henry James had it right, “summer afternoon, the two most beautiful words in the English language.

    Kailua, HI