Perception: Numinous Hatchlings


‘Ordinary things have always seemed numinous to me . . . There are 2 sides to your encounter with the world: you don’t simply perceive something that is statically present, but in fact there is a visionary quality to all experience. It means something because it is addressed to you. You can draw from perception the same way a mystic would draw from a vision.’

Marilynne Robinson, Paris Review No.198

Robert Harrison introduced his guest on the podcast Entitled Opinions as one who knows what it means to practice the persecuted religion of deep thinking, a practice which, he says, takes many different, often covert, forms. (The adjective ‘covert’ rather tickled me . . . “Be(a)ware: covert deep thinkers may interrupt normal transmission. Do not be alarmed!”)

One of the forms deep thinking takes is . . .

the perception of ordinary reality

which is

anything but ordinary

when perception becomes

truly attentive

and thoughtful.

(Hear, Here: A Conversation with Marilynne Robinson, Nov.4, 2015)

Wide-ranging is certainly a fitting adjective for the conversation – Emerson, Poe, Cosmology, Quantum Physics, Grief, Loss, Shakespeare, the English language – and there are some real gems in the conversation which I enjoyed on my long walk there and back.




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