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Under The Mind's Watch

Edited by John Nolan and Alan J Clark

Published by Peter Lang, 2004

ISBN 3-039110-168-4
US ISBN 0-8204-6978-5

Epigraph
The mind's watch is the watch of words. Under the mind's watch of words, there must be no more of their meaning what the variant self wishes them to mean: words must mean according to the generous law of the real, the principle of the unity of meanings wherever or by whomever words are honestly uttered. (The universality of meanings is the inspiration of language, the soul of being is in this).

The mind's vigilance is a kindness. By it, human beings can dispense with the special `truths' with which they crown themselves as favored with a special sense of the true. All the words, phrases, sentences, chapters, that in their variety minister variously to self-satisfaction in the human multitude may resound over and over in a composite public mind; but this mind, and its truths on truths, will prove to belong to no one, and all that resounds in it will over and over die away. The mind of each owns the private silences. They are for breaking with the speaking of the sense of each, equal, by language's equalness to itself when the mind stands guard and requires of words truth, the invariable.

From Under The Mind's Watch, page 145

The Answer

    If we are all of one breed, as the name ‘human’ hypothesizes, and this is the breed of creatures that can achieve by exchanges of mind one understanding, as our being makers of words to mean our meaning to one another claims for us, should you not be to me, each one of you, each one of us besides myself, as one of my own? And should I not be to each one of you as one of your own? Each one of us be to us as one of our own? Are we not all one another’s own? If we are of one breed, and the breed is this breed of minds? If in our being we mean, each, a same being? If the meaning of each, in the being of each, is the meaning of each other one of us? If the meaning of all is each one’s own meaning?

If we are born of the line that descends from the one-minded infinity of one, which broke itself, for love of what might be the same and be also and also, into a universe: and rises into bodily search for mind finite – the meaning of being, whole and in essence, having self in minds?

One startles, perceiving oneself to stand to another one as possessed in a kinship of being as the other’s own! Is this a fragment of the human miracle left over from its slow explosion into commonplaces of partial grace of being and partial accursedness in being with only partial grace of being, as the breed sorted itself into the like and the different, and into all the differences in likeness, and all the like-nesses in difference?

Is it a triumph of chance amidst growing lack on lack of agreement of the growing sum of us with the grand total of the meaning of ‘human’ borne in the being of each of us – the sum of this simplicity?

What shall one believe of us all, finding oneself as another’s own, and that other as one’s own? Should there be a twice or thrice of such finding, or other count, to set against naught, the meaning of us all would still be naught until all were countable into its simplicity.

To believe in naught as the human believable so long as the breed does not cease to waste itself in maintaining the self-bequeathing, self-inheriting, quantity ‘humanity’, physically meaningless addition to physical nature: the first lesson to be learned by who would believe under the mind’s watch is, to do without the consolations of believing in more than belief can hold within a commitment not to favor the dear wish, the suffering hope. Should one of us be to another as that other’s own, and that other be to that one as that one’s own, these will not have come into being in vain: the experiment of vesting the meaning of being in the self-named breed ‘human’ will have proved itself justified in that instance. What then? Where do such instances have place? Within the secret world of the watching mind, which only all of the breed of us become one hand, one key, one desire to know the meaning of us, can unlock to all of us.

 

 
Laura (Riding) Jackson

The Person I Am
A Mannered Grace
The Failure of Poetry, The Promise of Language
Anarchism Is Not Enough
Essays from Epilogue
First Awakenings
Four Unposted Letters To Catherine
Progress of Stories
Rational Meaning
The Laura (Riding) Jackson Reader
The Poems of Laura Riding
A Selection of the Poems of Laura Riding
The Telling
The Word Woman
Under The Mind's Watch
Sample Letters of Laura (Riding) Jackson
Essays
Web Page updated August 2014

 

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