sometimes allelujah

by Andrea Elizabeth

There is a terrible paragraph in Diapsalmata (Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard) where A says that he despises people. I’ve almost quoted it several times, but it is so horrible. It’s on page 40. Again, does he really despise people? He also says he doesn’t do them wrong, for then he would have lost. He stays aloof in order to keep from hurting them. When he’s happy, it’s as if the jinn of joy danced around him, not human people. I’ve read that he talked to people constantly, but I think he was interviewing them, actually. I saw Stephen King interviewed by Paula Zahn and he read her like a book and played her. So when relating becomes research it loses its personal connection. “You don’t want to know what I really think. To find that out, read my book.” But the writer knows that the character he creates is a morphed version, and not the essence of the inspirer, even if the person’s motivation is nailed. If it is. Therefore it is not an injustice.

Back to page 72. Writing is reflection, but not the immediate. Music captures the immediate, but it is sensual. The spiritual is also immediate, but not sensual. Words reflect on the spiritual after the fact.

“Allelujah” is the most spiritual, immediate word I can think of. But actually, it is musical. It is speaking in tongues, as it were. But one has to mean it, which makes it prayer.

But what about heated exchanges? I suppose they are reflective when one is recalling injustices, for instance. But what about reflexive outbursts? No! I suppose that is more musical too.

Words of praise are reflective, but when spoken there is an immediate effect on the hearer. But it is recalling the past. But what about an effusive verbal reaction to someone’s immediate presence? An uninhibited, Wow! Again, musical.

I am wondering if he’s separating the sensual from the spiritual too much. Yes, we strive towards imageless prayer, but yet we rely heavily on icons. We strive for silent prayer, but we unceasingly repeat the Jesus Prayer. We remove our sensual response by unemotionally chanting from our prayer books. Chanting is akin to singing. All of this is given to us, though, and we don’t rely on our senses to generate it. We use our nous to listen and obey the Church instead.