"The call is for a quiet confidence in the slow ripening of one's capacity to know, even in the presence of confusion. Reception is critical in reading: I make this point repeatedly. It is no less critical in writing. In his lectures on Rilke given in 1944, French philosopher Gabriel Marcel speaks of Rilke's supreme 'creative receptivity,' especially in relation to matters 'eternal.' Marcel writes, 'What Rilke teaches us better than anyone, and what I think such writers as Nietzsche or Kierkegaard have generally either never known or in the end forgotten, is that there exists a receptivity which is really creation itself under another name. The most genuinely receptive being is at the same time the most essentially creative.'

One of Rilke's simplest and most tender poems affirms this.

You darkness that I come from,
I love you more than the fire
that rings the world,
because it shines
only for a single orbit,
and of this creature knows nothing at all.

But the darkness holds everything together:
forms and flames, animals and myself,
all thrown together,
humans and powers —

and it could be that a great strength
moves all about me where I am.

I believe in nights.

"Reading Rilke ignites the wondrous possibility that a great strength/moves all about me where I am. I, too, can have faith in nights. What is no less true is that from the moment we are born and placed in a high-tech cradle or on a bed of straw we are the vessel of ideologically, socially and culturally driven projections and interpretations. The 'vessel' itself is not empty. Those projections and interpretations work on and in us. They shape our ideas, interpretations and prejudices. They shape our relationships. They are essential to the self we are continuously becoming and, significantly, to the self we believe we can become. A neutral reading is scarcely possible. Instead, clarity is needed about what gives context to and drives an individual's questions or interpretations, or forbids other questions from arising.

"Multiple factors — many out of sight — contribute to how we became the reader that each of us is, and how we have become conditioned to see what we see and to miss so much else. We can make room for 'space'; 'convincing' has to be neither absolute nor resolute. This potentially rescues us from what Karl Jaspers calls 'the arrogant faith in reason.' Space is deep 'inside,' but also 'reaches out.' And, as Rilke again shows, birds can fly through it."