For hours I could sit by her cradle to look at her. All other things seem to serve this one goal: just to look, without doing anything and without any thoughts whatsoever. Thinking and looking don’t go well together; people who have to think, often close their eyes. When i’m just looking, I cannot even formulate my thoughts other than by saying: look. I think, that there is nothing higher than the point at which thought merges into just looking.
Sometimes I succeed or am I granted to reach this point. But most of the time a swarm of associations buzzes around my head. They come flying in from the big world, from my worries and ambitions, and from the language that has laid a blockade of cliches around the cradle and the child. At least ten speakers muddy the simplicity of my thoughts. The first is asking me, if in the middle of all these world shocking affairs, the birth of a child can be called a major event. I can’t answer him because I don’t exactly know what determines the scale of an event. It is a very lame question, but it does distract.
A second angel at this cradle, on the other hand, is humming in my ears all the cliches of the wonder of life and of young joy. That too muddies my sight, because it forces me to look through the eyes off another, and use too many words. When we see a wonder we don’t speak, we just say: look.
A third angel is full of useful advice and warnings and even flows over from them. He means well with the child and the parents, but he poses too many conditions to me and imposes too many obligations on me to be welcome as a viewer. Number four raises an admonishing finger and says that a child like that might be a gift, but also a task. That might be so, but it is not always relevant. In the mean time, there is also someone singing songs by Emiel Hullebroeck, the one where a sunny light plays through my dwelling, and that I see it as my great duty to trestle wife and child on my strong youth -something that’s not quite conforming reality.
And within me awakes as the sixth angel a never before known ambition with regard to the future. My thoughts are muddied by the question what will become of this child and how far she will make it. At the same time an extensive defence apparatus starts to operate. This seventh angel wants to avert all enemies from this cradle with a burning sword, and because there are no enemies, he creates them. I’m starting to believe that people are not aggressive creatures, but just completely defensive.
Fortunately, sometimes they go out for lunch, those angels. Then I forget the admonitions, the actions and and the social burdens that already press upon this young existence. Looking is the highest that there is. Thoughts barely have any content and completely no structure. Nothing proceeds it and nothing follows from it; nothing can be done with it and there’s no need to, either, for everything is here already. I believe nobody has ever formulated what can go on in a person at such a moment better than Chesterton. In ‘The everlasting man’ he says: “…staring at the sky or the grass or the truths of mathematics or even a new-laid egg, he has a vague feeling like the shadow of that saying of the great Christian philosopher, St. Thomas Aquinas: ‘Every existence, as such, is good’.