The possible and the impossible

“That’s the way it is” we say, not knowing if we mean a realistic lucidity or a defeatist abandonment. That’s the way it is, and anything else is not possible. That’s the way it is, and it is impossible to stand up, wait, breathe, hope, create: to be or to make being more.

What is possible, what is impossible? The impossible is “the infinite unfolding of the horizon of the possible”, says José Ángel Valente (1929-2000), poet and mystical essayist far from any dogma, initiated in the mystery of reality through inspiration of the deep thinker María Zambrano. And he wonders: “wouldn’t the impossible be the metaphor of a possible that infinitely surpasses us?” (Cf. “The memory of the fire”).

And he quotes Edmon Jabès (1912-1991), his soul mate, French poet of Egyptian origin, mystic and atheist, witness of the vacant Infinite: “We are linked by the impossible”. Linked, Valente translates, “by the absolute infinity of the possible”.

Reality is open, infinitely open. And in an infinitely open reality, who can say “this is how far the possible goes, it is not possible to continue?” Possibility does not have an end. A new possibility is always open. The impossible is but the infinitude of the possibility written in the emptiness or in the heart of reality. We are part of that reality with its infinite horizon of possibilities.

Edmon Jabès, quoted by Valente time and again, writes in Le Parcours* (The Journey): “In every possible there is an impossible that mocks it. Yet, that impossible is not the impossible. It is just the failure of the possible. Beyond it is always the impossible”. And he adds, “that impossible is God”.

Impossible: there you have another name for God or for the Divine. Impossible, that is to say, Infinitude of the possible. That is why Jesus of Nazareth, mystic of the faith in the Impossible and prophet of the possible action, said: “there is nothing impossible for him who believes”. But let’s not get confused: “to believe” does not mean to hold on to dogmas and beliefs, but to welcome the necessary breath to lift up your eyes and step forward to the infinite horizon.

THAT’s the way it is.

Aizarna, September 8, 2023

Translated by Mertxe de Renobales

* Untranslated into English