Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?’
‘Supposing it didn’t,’ said Pooh after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
Madeleine L’Engle called them “echthroi,” in A Wind in the Door. I learned later from reading one of her published journals (A Two-Part Invention) that she believed truly in what she wrote. As I read A Two-Part Invention I stopped to write down the things that stuck with me (I don’t highlight or write in books).
She wrote, “I have to watch out for the echthroid projections, those horrible temptations to the imagination to project terrible things, nasty little temptations which buzz around like mosquitoes. Take it day by day. Don’t project. Stand there.” (Page 109)
And I think there are reminders everywhere to stand there and to not be afraid, to not fall to nihilism, to not forget your true name and nature, to not project. The reminders are hidden in the books and the trees and the stars and the rivers. In every animal which is wholly itself, which doesn’t project, which is and that is enough.
Imagining is only useful when the supposing is supposing the terrible unrealities don’t.
(Featured image by Paul Heussenstamm)