A window

The music of Philip Glass makes me feel at home. Apparently flat but deeply mysterious. The nuances of repetition. Change in no change. Peaceful and yet disquiet. A tension of opposites. Quiet and yet so loud. An inbetweenness.

I often dream of windows through which I get ‘to the other side’, usually some sort of back room, corridor or house that represents my unconscious. Back and forth, in and out. A window is a powerful symbol. Like an eye, it enables us to see what is outside. Without a window, we would miss the outer world, we wouldn’t even know it exists. We wouldn’t see, smell, hear. But a window also separates us from the exterior. It is an ‘I want but I can’t’, an ‘It’s near but you can’t reach it’. It’s an interface between interior and exterior.

The window stands perpendicular to the flow of light, tangential to the boundaries of the two worlds it separates. It brings to us the whole world out there. It makes it exist for us. It shakes us inside, wakes us up. But it doesn’t invade. It is not a door. No one comes in. We don’t escape. It just lets us know that the outside world is there. We cannot ignore it any more. Occasionally someone looks inside. Occasionally we open it to let the breeze in. But mostly we sit here, with a cup of tea, as we watch.

And I will let my life die in you, oh Virgin who expects no embrace, seeks no kiss, who no thought can defile. Atrium, just atrium of all hopes, Threshold of all desires, Window of all dreams. Viewpoint of all landscapes that are night forest and distant river trembling under the constant reflect of the moon… Verses, proses that cannot be written, but only dreamt.

Fernando Pessoa, Book of Disquiet (my own translation, with humble apologies)

A window is an entry. An exchange. A breeze. A breath. A hole in our inner selves through which our soul escapes and the outer world jumps in, half-uninvitedly, bringing its beauty and horrors. Awareness. An image, a sound, a smell. A picture, as real or unreal as the inner world.

The lidless eye that sees it all, willingly or not, helplessly. Protecting from the wind, the sun, the rain… sometimes it seems to blink, to cry, to smile. A connection. A bridge.

It can look inside. It can look outside. The window sees everything, except for one thing: it cannot see itself. In between worlds. In between forces. In between gods. The transparent ego through which the energy of the unconscious streams out. And it can only watch. The fate of the gatekeeper. Important and insignificant at the same time. Guardian of both worlds, but never here or there. Always in between. Essential and irrelevant. The watcher. Letting all the reality, inner and outer, pass through it without being able to retain it, even to touch it. Watching life passing through it like a strip of silk carried casually by the wind. No hands to grab it, to keep it, greedily, desperately, hopefully. Always a means, never an end.

The middle is by no means an average; on the contrary, it is where things pick up speed. Between things does not designate a localizable relation going from one thing to the other and back again, but a perpendicular direction, a transversal movement that sweeps one and the other away, a stream without beginning or end that undermines its bank and picks up speed in the middle.

Deleuze and Guattari, A thousand plateaus

Sometimes windows are opposed to other windows in narrow streets or inner yards. Connecting, involuntarily, reluctantly, curiously, two inner worlds. I wonder if the two watchers recognise themselves. A window finally seeing itself reflected in another window.