Monday, October 01, 2012

Courage and Curiosity

In his short story "Lance", Nabokov invokes "the man of imagination and science, whose courage is infinite because his curiosity surpasses his courage." From this I have constructed a pangrammatical formula: Curiosity is to knowledge as courage is to power. Now, wisdom is a knowing that transcends all knowledge just as a love is mastery that overcomes all power. So love takes infinite courage just as wisdom takes infinite curiosity. Or rather, genuine love exposes all courage as self-delusion and vanity.

This, I think, is how Kate Bush can tell us that when "the hounds of love" come for us we will confess that we have always been cowards. It is also why the sage appears so sublimely disinterested. It is not that the lover really is a coward; rather, courage has become irrelevant. It is not that sage is not curious; his curiosity has simply been taken to the limit.

(All this will soon lead us to a solution to my most recent riddle.)

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