barbed wire in between – March 1979

March 1979
This article is dedicated to Dr Yedidah Cohen, Safed, and her study of truth. BS Nov 2014

I have returned form East Germany yesterday, after three months of study. It was not an easy time. I was born there, brought up in the West. My parents’ rejection of their roots took me, as an adult, back to see for myself. –

My critical questions while permitted, were not encouraged, rarely answered, mostly dismissed. Our teachers were my age when the GDR came into being. Their enthusiasm and quest have long been stifled. A scheduled visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial site last week brought a shift, as I stood there, in one of the dark rooms of the exhibition, next to a glass case with documents, and with people silently passing me by.
I had no words and I have no words for that moment. Yet, something happened. After reflecting on this many times, the best I can say is: A Vow was made.
Several of my fellow students had declined to attend, “we have seen it all before”. Taking us back where they themselves started, teachers suddenly seemed to understand: I need togo to the roots of the motivation, that this may never happen again (be it in my thinking or physically), and renew it from facing that which must never happen again – where else?

“He asked me, ‘son of man, can these bones live?’ – ‘Only you know’, I answered.”

“The GDR has been an experiment – what else could we have done?”

“Communication and discussion take place through concepts, but all insight lies behind the conceptual scene. … there is always a danger that (a reader) will attend to the concepts rather than the underlying insight, (particularly) when the point to be grasped by insight is merely that there is no point.”

So in the end, I left East Berlin with a sense of freedom, clarity and reconciliation- out of confusion.

Barbed wire in between –
Love overflows train window sun,
Patrols both on guard.

Home, last night – I found myself free from a compulsive neurotic symptom, after a long time.



-Ezekiel, 37, 3

-East Berlin Author Stephan Hermlin

-Bernard Lonergan, Insight, quoted from Lonergan Reader p.65


-In the actual experience sketched in the haiku, there is also an early reference to what Lonergan calls “the universal viewpoint (as) concerned with the interpreter’s capacity to grasp meanings; it would open his mind to ideas that do not lie on the surface and to views that diverge enormously from his own; it would enable him to find clues where otherwise he might look but would fail to see…”

first published by World Haiku Review online, ca. 2002


~ by Barbara S on February 2, 2013.

3 Responses to “barbed wire in between – March 1979”

  1. If nothing else, on that day, I affirmed the kind of radical I am – going beyond the thinkable or unthinkable, and let the roots be nourished from there.

  2. A Catholic Priest once quoted in conversation a phrase used in profound spiritual direction: “In that which you can’t surpass, there is God for you.”

    I am ashamed to say that, despite the liberation from a compulsive neurotic symptom hinted upon here, throughout the 35 years since, I have often belied my own radicalism by allowing much inferior concepts to be in my way.
    Yet, 12-step-recovery (in this case of the neurotic) points to the fact that it is a process akin to peeling an onion – not only in the weeping (about one’s own shortcomings) but in the removing of more and more layers.

  3. The greatest clarity and trust go with the greatest insecurity. – Wasn’t that the insight, offered by the moment when the infinity sign appeared before my eyes?
    It would be a long time before I even remotely grasped what that might mean.

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