RHYTHMS IN HUMAN NATURE
Love and wisdom are real only as
events. They move on legs to turning points. They intensify and
reverse. The leg of approach leads to separation. Inward withdrawal
provokes outward return.
The phrases “perennial wisdom” and
love” suggest that we climb the virtues like ladders to states of high
constancy. But we don’t. Love advances through reversals. Wisdom
travels through stages marked by turning points. No single stage can
stand for the whole. The worthiness resides in the completely unfolding
separations, withdrawals, and returns get their meaning because they
join into dramas of engagement and discovery. The dramas, though they
disclose themselves as events in time, can be illustrated graphically.
I have sketched out the main patterns in still pictures.
You can put them into motion in your mind.
Both love and wisdom are
vulnerable to perturbation at the links between their mini-cycles, as
illustrated to the left, and even more so, at the major turning in the
pattern, the turning of turnings, where the temporal shape of the whole
emerges from the congeries of its parts.