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T. E. Lawrence: “The divided selves said nothing. . . .”

June 5, 2015

For all those—soldiers, caregivers, lost explorers, strivers of all stripes who feel overwhelmed by the circumstances surrounding them—these words from T. E. Lawrence, better know these days as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ — In this passage, he is fevered, retreating from a failed attempt, half in his own mind and half without:

“Now I found myself dividing into parts. There was one which went on riding wisely, sparing or helping every pace of the wearied camel. Another hovering above and to the right bent down curiously, and asked what the flesh was doing. The flesh gave no answer, for, indeed, it was conscious only of a ruling impulse to keep on and on; but a third garrulous one talked and wondered, critical of the body’s self-inflicted labour, and contemptuous of the reason for the effort. . . .

“This spent body toiled on doggedly and took no heed, quite rightly, for the divided selves said nothing I was not capable of thinking in cold blood; they were all my natives.”

For each of us, at times life will become so hard we will wonder why we bother to keep on at it. The wondering is natural. In looking for reasons to keep on, we can look inward. We may, like Lawrence, find no reasons worthy of the name. We must, like him, understand that such questioning is only a part of the whole. It is to honor the other parts that we keep on.

The words above are quoted from T. E. Lawrence, from his book “Revolt in the Desert.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 8, 2015 10:44 am

    Truly enchanting! Thnk U.

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