I am in a drought: a drought of words, a drought of coherent thought, and a drought of cohesive ideas. In fact, this drought was very concretely characterized for me today when I attended the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, where I saw the exhibit, “Listen to the Quiet Voice.” It was this, and only this, that sparked just enough personal connection to help me even construct this post today.
It seemed that each artifact–each little piece of artwork–symbolized quiet in one way or another. In one room, a single light, suspended from the ceiling, shone in contrast to four black walls, a black ceiling, and a black floor, all the while the whispering sounds of rushing water playing in the background. I stumbled upon another room, where a looping video of a child’s hand spinning a pen round and round her fingers played cyclically, leaving no words behind on the paper beneath.
I felt a strong connection to this, for my I have felt my mind slip into somewhat of a quiet state lately, but not necessarily in the sense that I have no thoughts at all. It’s quite the contrary, actually. My mind is so full of questions, wonder, and curiosity, that little of it has yet to amalgamate into something coherent, something worth sharing.
Coincidentally enough, I’ve recently begun reading David Brooks’s The Social Animal, where he discusses the all-too-frequently underemphasized unconscious mind. It’s a mystery–the unconscious mind–in the sense that it’s even less measurable than the conscious. The conscious mind allows itself to be seen through action or through spoken word, while the unconscious mind is quite the opposite, stirring beneath the surface, creating the tiny ripples that soon become the words and actions that define our conscious mind.
It might sound funny to say, but I can feel my unconscious hard at work right now. I can feel the rush of new ideas: new ideas about the classroom, new ideas about the world, and even some new ideas about myself, my existence, and my own thoughts and words. But these ideas are a mere blur right now, swirling around in a mist of beautiful unclarity, waiting to be serendipitously connected to other ideas, tenuously delaying gratification until they are connected with others and synthesized into something brand new.
Oddly enough, though my voice remains quiet and I feel somewhat overwhelmed and lost by a lack of the new, I feel peculiarly at ease, trusting my unconscious to do the work, and waiting for it to push me in the right direction.