May 20, 2009

Loosening the moorings of the soul

Question: How do we adjust our lives in a world that requires us to be in so many more places?

Answer inspired by a novel by Salman Rushdie, called the Enchantress of Florence:

"In a small wooden box concealed behind a sliding panel...[he] kept a collection of beloved 'objects of virtue', beautiful little pieces without which a man who traveled constantly might lose his bearings, for too much travel....too much strangeness and novelty, could loosen the moorings of the soul"
-Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence

The quote made me think of how any travel, especially international travel, wears on your soul after a while. Perhaps you need more "objects of virtue" to remind you of everything that keeps you grounded. I just started this book (The Enchantress of Florence) last night and am already disliking Rushdie and loving his writing; it's strange to try to separate the two. I wonder how often we do this with people: separate the acts from the person or the intentions from the acts - and where that takes the discussion of right and wrong/good and bad.

As the people I love travel everywhere from Seoul and Panama to the Arizona desert and the inner city of Baltimore, I think of how "objects of virtue" have been sacred since the beginning of time - reminders of people and places we have been (and might return). And perhaps this "loosening of the moorings", as Rushdie so beautifully puts it, can be a good thing if the end result is that it creates space for new thoughts to pour in.


"The king was not content with being. He was striving to become"
-Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence

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