“Melody is the essence of music” –Mozart
There is the thing. All that is, all that was, all that will be. It is what we are in, what we learn and observe, what affects us, what was here before us. It was here before us, and is responsible for us, and we can detect vaguely, or somewhat exactly, by selecting incidents from the past, how we came to be—how it were impossible that we could not have come to be. And this is what is. This is the thing. It is me, and all that I am is because the thing did exist and does exist. There is the thing.
The thing is the good. If I am honest with myself I acknowledge this is the good, because my being, my body, my senses, my ability to feel and think, to love good and want the good—all this is not through my ability to manipulate, or alter—but is what was given to me, actual and intact—this is the thing.
Then there is what limits the thing. It is what humans do in their present life as they seek to alter and manipulate and change and contemplate the thing. And because of the absolute value in its given totality, the thing is not altered, changed, manipulated or contemplated except as it is limited by what is not the thing.
To know which is which. Which is the thing and which is a limitation of the thing. This is the true religion and the true philosophy and the true knowledge and the true art and the true love—the understanding of what is the thing and what is that which limits the thing.
To pretend, or to calculate, or to think, or to act, or to believe, at any moment, that the thing is a part, or a part of a part, and not an absolute whole, is to live not in the thing, but in a limitation of the thing. And because the thing is the whole thing, limiting the thing is always available to us, and a common thing to do. But it is not the thing, and limiting the thing is never the thing.
To choose is not to limit the thing, because choice is the thing. You exist because a choice was made by the thing to include you. Therefore choices qua choices do not limit the thing. A choice may be made to limit the thing, but a choice in itself never limits the thing, because the thing contains in itself certain choices. The thing exists uniquely, and is not amorphous; it is the thing, but the thing is not an abstract oneness—otherwise you would not exist as a unique product and you would not be part of the the thing.
But to purposely limit the thing is a common pursuit, a very common pursuit, (it defines most people) and its attempt to defy the thing is an act against the thing.
Much of what passes as human activity is the pursuit of limitation.
The thing cannot be limited, but since the thing is unique and includes you—and you are unique—the thing is not immune to a radical attempt to limit it, and this attempt is how many radical humans define themselves.
Why did the ancients separate poetry from truth, calling them radically different? Because they knew the thing was the truth, and there is no way to assault its unity as the radically creating thing of all that is given, and further gives, and needs no alteration—and is the thing, for that reason. The thing comprises all that was and is. It is that which science seeks to understand: the stars and their position in space, the planets and moons, and how the orbs and stars move, the origin, and material substance, of the universe of stars, the non-continuous (counting) mathematics and the continuous (geometry) mathematics, the biology of breeding, survival, and the pleasure, including human laws and government, of the whole. This is the thing, the “best of all possible worlds,” the science of the this, but not that.
The beautiful music is the thing. The “wrong note” is the thing temporarily paused, the limitation of the song because the song is paused (but continues to exist and will always exist).
Limitation is error and chance, and poetry (speech which can never be “wrong”) belongs to error and chance—in as much as it is poetry, for the thing cannot be poetry; poetry is the alteration of the thing, not the thing, even if it worship the thing and seeks to improve it, for obviously the subject of a poem is not the poem. The poem—poetry—is, by definition, not the thing. Poetry belongs to the category of what limits the thing.
And yet great poetry, in its choices, may come close to the spirit of the thing.
The thing can only be changed by limitation, and limitation is done by what is not the thing. The thing is, by definition, not limitation, but the thing.
Poetry limits the thing, and all radical human activity, like poetry, is limitation.
Abortion is limitation. Consciousness of race is limitation. Crime is limitation. Poetry, the vast majority of poetry, is limitation. Harsh laughter is limitation. At times, limitation is mistaken for the understanding of the thing itself—and when this happens, humankind is particularly prone to confusion and suffering.
What is the thing? It is that which was, and is, and will be, and cannot be limited, and which builds for its children towering cities beside beaches and forests, with sighing flowers, stretching, forwards, backwards, sideways, upwards and below, into the trembling, blue vastness of twinkling eternity.