Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sonnet #18: Hunter/Gatherer

We humans have two drives: to know, or love.
One gathers knowledge -- a passive receptivity --
while the other hunts with passion, dreaming of
procuring that for which they've a proclivity.

The hunter's motivation? Dissatisfaction,
a hunger, or a longing for love denied.
The knower's quest has far less need for action,
that search is much more simply satisfied.

The hunter's propelled forward by ambition;
the gatherer, storing up that which has passed,
provides the base and fuels the ammunition
for search and discovery; for old ways to be surpassed.

Each type may fail to understand the other,
but the world needs both -- the gatherer and the lover.

Just a note: I first read about this concept -- that humans have a drive either to know or to love -- in Evelyn Underhill's treatise on mysticism.  It is her contention that the drive to love, and the passion that accompanies it, is what moves creation forward -- and I like that, because in my family I am the driven one, and some of that drive comes from a hunger for what I didn't get as a child.  But though my husband's primary drive is to gather knowledge, which is essentially a more passive role (which I do occasionally find frustrating, driven creature that I am) it seemed important to understand that we need both kinds of people. So that's the origin of this poem.  Sadly, the image that worked best reverses the roles to the more traditional pattern, but I can live with that.  Hope you can, too!

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