On Swimming in Muddy Rivers: Be/coming

There’s all sorts of songs and poems and stories about rivers.  They’re mighty forces.  They’re places of change and rebirth.  Baptism.  Chaos.  Beauty.  Becoming and renewing Being.  Life and Death and Life again.  Jump in with me for a few minutes.   

I have been contemplating Becoming for nearly a year now, letting it invade and was over every part of me - the way I think (epistemology), act and be (ontology), and do (some methodological mix of all of the above).  Becoming is a life changing force.  It's powerful and destructive, but not to the end of destruction.  It is chaos that opens up skies, worlds, realities, and mind-bodies that we may find new ways to live and Be.  The good Nietzsche explains: ““three metamorphoses of the spirit do I designate to you: how the spirit becometh a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child”.  He explains that the camel, a beast of burden or something weighed down maybe by chains and albatrosses, becomes a lion who brings its chaotic spirit to free the beast of burden that the child, the part of us that needs to find newness in play and reawakening.  Better said, sometimes we gotta shake things up.  This is Becoming.       

I will remark with no hesitation that I have mistakenly posited, at least to myself, that Becoming is the opposite of Being.  Becoming again is flowing and changing, even chaotic.  Being, on the other hand, I thought, is stagnant, like dead water where mosquitoes are born.  However, I’m beginning to see this view as, at best, short sighted.  In the haste to reject a binary, or opposite, I created one for myself.  I have assumed that Being indicated ossification - a slow hardening.  More short sightedly, I think, I placed Being in opposition with Becoming,  one extinguishing the other.  The Other. 

I was sitting on the bank of a river in Georgia the other day, one I frequent.  I have watched the river from the bank for nearly a year now.  I watched it and thought about Becoming.  How the river is never the same, moment to moment it changes.  I’ve wanted to jump in, but haven’t.  Who knows what lurks beneath the surface?  How deep is it?  Will I be pulled too quickly downstream?  I jumped in and let the river take me.  I floated and watched the banks that had once seemed still and quiet change.  I no longer viewed the river, I was now watching the banks.  Becoming is the river; Being is the riverbank.  Perhaps, and I have much to learn (becoming), each shapes the other.  Being and Becoming dance beautifully together.  They are not opposing forces, but complementary.  Partners.