What is called thinking

The mind has its own desires & not all of them are pure: it might find (for example) certain thoughts to be shapely, others adorably waif-like, some as fatal to the other five senses as the Lorelei. For Osip Mandelstam, exiled to the Russian steppe, flocks of poems appeared as goldfinches on his daily walks. In the 12th century, Richard of St. Victor, the most systematic of mystics, discovered that the mind has three pairs of wings. It can soar and circle on any one pair, but maneuvers best with all six wings unfolded. One wonders how many years he labored over his sketches of the soul’s most intimate secrets. Each verse of his Bible was a separate pane stained by a separate sky.

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