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Friday, January 20, 2012

A discussion of the transcendent vs immanent in a foreign context. (and a little on Rome)




This discussion (in a book I'm reading by Macrina W)  seemed appropriate as we moved between Rome and London.  (flying over snow capped French alps)

We are still not home, but how much of a difference will it make to know the language?  Our holiday has mostly been spent learning basics in one language or another, Dutch, French, Italian, endearing us with a sense of the transcendent.  (ie  how much are we missing here?)  Any ability to maintain openness to learning, a sense of wonderment and new eyes enables us to reflect on this transcendence which will change us in our imminent return to routine and homely immanence.  There was of course, more homeliness whilst we were with relatives, transcending! the space between 'us' and 'them'.  Living and eating with our family in Europe (celebrating Christmas and birthdays) was a privilege.  As a result, the Netherlands have been our home base in Europe.  

On the other hand, Rome was the most 'transcendent' in this sense, of the places we visited up to now.  We ran into demonstrations twice (EU and taxi drivers!), hundreds of police in various uniforms, cordoned off piazzas, Sunday morning families heading for 'football', nuns, priests, the homeless and unmarked ruins from the first century. We visited a trash and treasure market which was more immanent, in Ls words, "...without the treasure", ate very immanent pizza/pasta and drank Lavazza at the bar (they should make cafe bars such as these in Melbourne, especially to halve the price of the coffee!). We gained also a sense of history here, transcending centuries, as we inadvertently hiked around the Vatican in an hour (having been sent on a wild goose chase to st Peter's), finally making an adventurous crammed up narrow passageway through the dome of the basilica itself to the top.

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