423b2e
423b2e

1.09.2012

the skin between ourselves



"There's a skin or hide between ourselves and our inner being. And in the West that skin is very thick. Inside us there's a sea and that sea is your inner life, your spiritual life, and your sexual impulses - everything you've gotten from the memory stores of evolution. Then there's the outside world made of buildings and automobiles. And these two worlds can't rub against each other. It's too painful. Therefore you develop a hide exactly like a cow develops a hide. You don't want her guts to rub against the barn."

~ Robert Bly
spoken to Lewis Hyde in an interview
taken from Robert Bly - In This World

via the beauty we love

xxx

15 comments:

J Cosmo Newbery said...

But skin on skin, ah, there's the rub!

Adullamite said...

Tsk! There is no such word as 'gotten.' Tsk!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Makes me wonder, RDM, if you are still working at the jewelry store?

red dirt girl said...

Adullamite:

Here's what David Crystal says about The gotten/got distinction in
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (p.311):

"Gotten is probably the most distinctive of all the AmE/BrE grammatical
differences, but British people who try to use it often get it wrong.
It is not simply an alternative for have got. Gotten is used in such
contexts as
They've gotten a new boat. (= obtain)
They've gotten interested. (= become)
He's gotten off the chair. (= moved)
But it is not used in the sense of possession (= have). AmE does not
allow
*I've gotten the answer.
or *I've gotten plenty.
but uses I've got as in informal BrE. The availability of gotten
does however mean that AmE can make such distinctions as the following:
They've got to leave (they must leave) vs
They've gotten to leave (they've managed to leave)."

I'd add that Crystal's I've gotten the answer isn't starred if it means I have figured out the answer, rather than I have the answer.

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Cosmo,

Better that than skeleton on skeleton ... xxx!

red dirt girl said...

Gary,

Yes, I am.
xxx

soubriquet said...

I have to agree with RDG on gotten. Though it seems jarring to us english folk, that's because it's fallen out of use here, but it has the same basis as fall-en, hid-den ripe-n, gold-en.

Somewhere along the line, we stopped using it. The descendants of our compatriots who emigrated to America retained it.

Adullamite said...

Crystal is an American!

soubriquet said...

I've thought long and hard about this, and I'm thinking Kafka, ice-axe.

Now, I'll admit I did like the picture, and I liked the imagery, I liked the reasoning for a cow to be encased in a tough hide bag, though one of the saddest things I ever saw was when my dad got a new car. It was a prestigious executive sort of thing, all walnut veneer and thick carpet, and leather bucket-seats. And I sat in the back, and felt something under my fingertips on that smooth cool grey leather. A scar.
A scar.
And all of a sudden, I was aware that I was sitting on the skin of a cow. Skin that held that poor cows organs in, kept them from rubbing on the barn. And under my fingertip was a wound. A fence-nail, perhaps, a wire barb, who knows, that cut her, hurt her, leaked her blood, and healed.
So her skin could be peeled off her and used to make soft seats for our car.

Well, I'm not vegetarian, I wear leather shoes, but I tell you, right then, I was not proud of being a human.

I have several layers of hide. The outer one's like a rhinoceros' skin.
mostly. Sometimes it's as thin as tissue-paper.

red dirt girl said...

Yes, he's American .... what does that have to do with the correct conjugation of the word 'get'? It's just a difference between American English and British English. No need to go to war over a little itty bitty word like 'gotten'. Mr. Bly uses it correctly in his quote.

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Whoa! we actually agree on a grammar question ...!
xxx

red dirt girl said...

What's happened to my comment section ??? It's all teeny-tiny words that I can hardly read without my glasses and now has these drop down reply / delete buttons under each comment ... !! I'm not complaining, too much ... it's just not something that I asked for. Harumph.

Ok, Soubry, sorry - just had to get that off my chest. That's a pretty sad story about feeling the scar on the luxurious leather seat of your dad's car. I had the opportunity, when I was a bubble-town wife, to purchase a designer handbag made out of pony skin. I couldn't buy it. Leather, yes, I admit to buying leather. But the furry pony I just could not do.

I'd say what is missing in Mr. Bly's comment on skin, is that there are more things 'outside of us' than just hard surfaces like buildings and automobiles. I think skin also protects us from rubbing up against other people. With some people our skin is thin, with other's we have to develop a thicker hide. I wish I could have linked over to the rest of the interview to understand, better, the context of this quote. I'm interested in where he was headed with this bit about skin and hides.

As for Kafka and the ice-axe, funny you bring that up because I left that precise quote on somebody's blog not too long ago. And I remembered the labored argument we had over the use of an ice-axe in his metaphor.

I'm starting to think of the innertent as one big recycling bin.

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Oh and it is a sort of tie-in with thin skinned currently over at red dirt girl poetry ... loosely speaking

xxx

Adullamite said...

Tsk! Of course there is a need to go to war over American inept spelling! Bah! (spelled BAH!)

red dirt girl said...

Adullamite ~ you're such a wag! (WAG) :)
xxx