Elizabeth Robinson
Dialogue, Doubt, and Presence      (page 8)

I was also one of those children who pursued prayer, or the idea of prayer, with a kind of anguished desire to do it right. It wasn’t merely a matter of wanting to accrue virtue. It was more the desire to prove the existence of God by making a definite contact. That is, it was a form of the urgent game in which I tried to watch myself perform a thought to prove that I and the thought were really there.

But on those occasions when such witness or contact transpired, it was too strange to ever discuss with anyone, which seemed to threaten the possibility of its veracity.

Can a secret that is never told have any real legitimacy as “information” or “reality”? As the genuinely present?

Perhaps because of this, I have come to understand doubt and displacement as the truest forms of presence, certainly my most resolute conversation partners.

To articulate doubt seems to me to be a way to toss a drape over silence and invisibility so that their shapes are disclosed: chatting up the uncanny.

To articulate doubt, to stand with curiosity and willingness removed from (i.e. displaced from) any claims of control is to begin to create the conditions of presence. It is dialogue, if dialogue is to gain proximity on a thing that one suspects (not) to be there.

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