March 14, 2009

polanyi and orthodoxy

i’ll explain this quote afterwards:
“consider, polanyi might say, the experience of pounding a nail or playing jazz on the clarinet. when on pounds a nail, she is not conscious of the hammer at all; the hammer becomes an unconscious extension of her hand, a tool which she indwells and takes into herself. with each blow she is not aware of the pressure of the hammer handle against her palm, but rather she is aware of the bang of the hammerhead on the nail head. she focuses through the hammer to the nail.
when one plays the clarinet, one is not thinking about the pressure of the lower teeth against the lower lip, nor of the tightness of the lower lip against the reed, nor of the touch of the upper teeth to the mouthpiece, nor of the pressure of the fingers on the holes and keys, nor of the contraction of the hand and finger muscles, nor of hte weight of the instrument borne by the right thumb and right elbow and right shoulder, nor of the tapping of the left foot to deep time, nor of the air pressure produced by the diaphragm on the lungs and in turn on the windpipe and in turn on the inner mouth and reed. rather, through the unconscious absorption of the instrument into the body, through indwelling the instrument through one’s fingers and breath, on e attends through it to the notes, to the tone filling the air and room outside one’s body, to the feeling of the musical phrase, to the passionate exuberance of the melody, to the free play of improvisation, to the rhythm and movement of the band, to the almost intangible but real response of the audience as it sways and smiles and maybe even dances. one facuses through the instrument to the music, and through the music to the audience. if one were to think consciously of all the intricate movements of muscles, tendons, bones…one would go nuts and be completely unable to play.”
this quote is found in the book A Generous Orthodoxy by brian mclaren in chapter 0. he uses these images as a metaphor for orthodoxy. he continues after this previous quote and writes, “in this vein, orthodoxy in this book is seen as a kind of internalized belief, tacit and personal, that becomes part of you to such a degree that once assimilated, you hardly need to think of it. we enter it, indwell it, live and love through it. we concentrate on hitting the nail on the head, on the music touching, delighting, moving the audience. orthodoxy in this book is similarly caught up in the practice (orthopraxy) for love for God and all God’s creations.”
i have some feelings about this.. does anyone else?