A Feature Review of
Paul Quenon, OCSO
Meditations in Times of Wonder
Reviewed by Matthew Braddock
The mathematician Henri Poincare, once said, “It is by logic that we prove. It is by intuition that we discover.” When our minds are set on one way of thinking or one way of doing things, mindlessly determined by the past, we blur our intuition and can miss much of the present world around us. A purely rational/logical understanding of events can confirm old mindsets and preserve rigid categories. One should pay careful attention to what happens when one becomes stuck in a particular rational narration of a dominant story.
The counterbalance is to discover alternative narratives through awareness and intuition; varying ways of perceiving a reality that has become lost. This is one of the reasons we have poetry. As Paul Quenon reminds is in Unquiet Vigil, poems helps us listen and pay attention to that which has not yet been seen or heard. Through intuition, one may excavate stories and experiences that have been repressed, submerged, or buried. Quenon, a Trappist monk and student of Thomas Merton, refers to the process of watching and listening as “keeping vigil”.