An Ancient Heart: Writing to Live

This “Dear Sugar” column at The Rumpus is slick with keen insights into the human condition. The link provided here points to one post in particular in which the question revolves around the usefulness of an English/Creative Writing degree (major or minor) and life after graduation in light of earning that degree. It focuses on the pressure to conform to a workforce oriented world, the way people push you into certain fields you don’t feel compelled to enter, and, finally it gives some insight into how to sidestep this pressure and, instead, embrace life and the choices you have made. It is worth considering.


Sugar says, “There’s a line by the Italian writer Carlo Levi that I think is apt here: ‘The future has an ancient heart.’ I love it because it expresses with such grace and economy what is certainly true—that who we become is born of who we most primitively are; that we both know and cannot possibly know what it is we’ve yet to make manifest in our lives.”


Who are we “most primitively?” Is there a sense that there is a self hidden among these roles I inhabit or is who I am always a work-in-progress as I perform these roles? What would the fifth of sixth question in this line of thought be? When Sugar speaks through Levi of “the future” and its “ancient heart,” is there a thread that speaks of that inner voice, the voice that speaks louder or quietly more persistent than one’s many voices? Or, does she mean that we are as we communicate (going back to my Thayerian ways of grasping things)? What is it that we cannot possibly know about ourselves? What is it about ourselves that we will never know? Does the answer lie in learning to ask better questions or seeking more solid answers?

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