romanglass (romanglass) wrote in magne_f,

learn to love doubt

Several works of Magne's have been selected to be translated into hand-knotted rugs for a limited collection with Urban Fabric Rugs, which will be launched at the Stockholm Furniture Fair later this week:

You can find some posts about it on Facebook and Instagram, including some behind the scenes photos and video clips.

where do you take your
confidence from? and if energy
is a constant then whose confidence
is gone? if 98% of the atoms
in your body were not even there a
year ago what makes you
insist again and again
you are you? what tells
you what compels you to make
spectacle of everything you're about
memory is meant to make you stronger
not wipe your sense of self out
with confidence gone
learn to love doubt

While all three of the chosen works are stunning - and so well suited - in this new medium, this one stood out for me in part as yet another case of Magne expressing something I think many people can relate to.

Two lines really strike me: 'memory is meant to make you stronger' and 'learn to love doubt'. The former is self explanatory, yet prompts you to think of your own past and consider whether you've somehow allowed memory to weaken you instead; a perfect device to spark introspection in every viewer. The second invites you to dig much deeper, just as the poem is ending, to not only identify your doubt (difficult enough at times) but to embrace it.

Life is full of doubts, and this may simply be saying we'd get through our days much better if instead of ignoring, resisting or hiding from doubt, we face it, get to know it, develop a kind of affection for it, and thereby not merely lessen its power over us, but use it as an impetus to continue to move forward. Basically, you can find a way to make something unpleasant and defeating into something positive, or at least to accept that some things can't be changed, and you are better off approaching them from a place of strength. What's stronger than love, after all?

Surely that is enough to like about this poem: a common wisdom expressed in a unique way. However two other lyrics come to mind unbidden, and make me consider this theme in a couple of different lights.

From 'Undo my Heart' (which Magne is a co-writer on, so this may or may not be his contribution):

'They say that love's a catapult to throw out your doubt / it flies for miles, through the clouds, and lands without a sound.'

I always liked these lines because they express an active, immensely helpful and selfless aspect of love: to break down your love's doubts and hurl them with all your strength far enough away that it's as if they never were. One helps the other in conquering doubt, so the mind and heart are clear and not weighed down anymore, which allows both people to love more deeply and freely. It's such a beautiful idea. I think too many people carry their doubts like obligations, not to mention as deep, dark secrets, as if to say them out loud gives them more power than they already have. However with the right person, you can share your doubt and know it will be respected and understood, not dismissed or trivialized, or intensified, or somehow used against you to hold you captive. The right person will want to know what your doubts are so they can help you deal with them and get free of them.

Makes sense, right? But 'learn to love doubt' seems to be saying the opposite: doubt is here to stay, so you might as well find a way to love it. On one hand, I don't like that idea because I'd rather believe you *can* be free of doubt; but on the other hand, I have to acknowledge that it's human nature to have doubts, and therefore the wisdom of learning to live well with them is a more realistic goal.

From 'Time and Place':

'Your heart does what it's told'

This lyric is one of my favorites from Magne's solo albums. It refers to the theme of conflict betwen the heart and the mind. The heart is the seat of emotion of every kind, not just love but anger and sorrow and every other feeling that makes us human. The heart should be free, it yearns for connection and inspiration. Meanwhile the mind has great power; at times it is difficult for even the most open heart to argue with logic.

How often do we convince ourselves that we're happy with how things are? Or patiently wait when we want to be off and running? Or downplay our ideas and creativity because we don't think others are receptive to them? How often do we love where we think we shouldn't, or yearn for friendship but something stops us from taking that important first step? Why do we hide a delighted smile when we see someone we love? Why do we keep people at arm's length even when we know they want the best for us? Doubt. Uncertainty. Lack of confidence.

It may seem better to believe what your mind tells you to believe - or to believe what others tell you is the logical thing to believe - than to risk allowing your heart to show you the way. By letting reason have sway, you can defend any choice with logic, and never deal with doubt of the heart. We're told that it's better and safer to have a plan than to follow your heart, and if we're not careful, we can wind up convincing ourselves to feel what we *think* we should be feeling. In this context, 'learning to love doubt' seems like it could be another example of this, a kind of advice to the mind for the protection of the heart. matter what reason or knowledge our minds have, our hearts don't want to be told what to feel ;-) Even if you hide that smile, your heart is still doing flips at the sight of your love. Even if you tell yourself an idea isn't going to fly, the really good ones will pester you on the inside until you find a way to share them and allow them a chance to develop. Despite the benefits of logic, our hearts are happiest when they lead the way.

And...I honestly don't know which is worse, the feeling of doubt itself, or the understanding that because of it, we are holding back or missing out on something essential and important and true. Is it possible that in loving our doubt, we take away its power over us?

Long story short: another great poem. Hopefully Magne publishes more poetry in book, digital or other form soon.

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