Searching for the Center /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

Without digging very far into traditional literature or philosophy, the curious reader encounters directly or indirectly the idea of a True Center. This idea sometimes shows up as geocentrism or anthropocentrism—words which are unfortunately forgotten or maligned today, but which are shorthand for an entire way of understanding what human beings are and how reality works.

I’ve discovered, in my own study of great literature of the past, that without understanding Centeredness, the ancient books cannot make sense to me as a modern-day reader. They may be enjoyable or informative. They may have historical interest. But to really gain insight or understanding from the classics, to be deepened and transformed by them, the contemporary reader has to get back to this lost idea:

The human person is at the heart of reality, and reality communicates itself to and through the human person.

Our modern notion, of course is entirely the opposite. There is no Center—either in the geographic or hierarchical sense. Matter and energy (which are everything according to the current model) have no center; space and time have no center. A human is an instance of complex chemical reactions facilitated by the unique (though meaningless) conditions of physical circumstance in a particular place of the universe.

The world we live in today is a world of shells and empty appearances. But the classical world placed the interior ahead of the exterior. Meaning and whole-ness were the Real; appearance and function were interpreted in light of this Whole. Both the senses and intuition were cooperative functions.

What this meant for ages past was a sense of well-being and “fittedness” of the person to the environment, and vice versa. To be a True Human meant to be conformed to the Real. If a man or woman wanted to be Free, liberation was the path of discovering and living from the Center.

I’m taking time to write this brief reflection because I am coming to discover that contemporary people can re-learn to see and live from the Center. They can re-member their souls and re-member the earth. {To re-member is the opposite of to dis-member.} They can study in order to conform. {To con-form is to be in union with all Forms.} They can look at the stars and ask “what does this mean?” rather than just “what is this made of?”

Do I mean that people can again become geo-centric? Yes. Or, that people can again believe that there is an unseen world of angels and demons and gods and spirits? Yes. Do I mean that at the heart of each human life is a Center where the earth and the angels and God all commune? Yes.

The most difficult obstacle might be our simple habit of believing whatever we see on television. The world of commercials and news and sitcoms is very enticing. But, it has to be enticing because it’s so empty. As soon as we stop believing the media, we might—just perhaps—look away from the screen and look up at the stars to see what they might have to say for themselves.

We might find that the old poems and the old stars are speaking a common language. Recovering the Center is a slow but rewarding process.


All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2019 by Joshua Alan Sturgill

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