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#3484 - Friday, March 27, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
Featured are Saul Bellow and John Updike in excerpts from Alan Mann's NOWletter 139. Alan's comments are included.
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Mr Sammler on Death and GodSaul Bellow
Andrew Hilton gave me a pile of his cast- off books during a recent visit. The pile included Mr Sammlers Planet by Saul Bellow, an unlikely title as far as I was concerned, not a book I would have chosen myself. However, I found myself thoroughly gripped by Mr. Sammler and include this brief extract from his conversation with Dr. Govinda Lal because it seems to fit well with the theme of this issue. Alan
But it is not even for us to vote Yea or Nay. And I have not stated my arguments, for I argue nothing. I have stated my thoughts. They were asked for, and I wanted to express them. The best, I have found, is to be disinterested. Not as misanthropes dissociate themselves, by judging, but by not judging. By willing as God wills.
"During the war I had no belief, and I had always disliked the ways of the Orthodox. I saw that God was not impressed by death. Hell was his indifference. But inability to explain is no ground for disbelief. Not as long as the sense of God persists. I could wish that it did not persist. The contradictions are so painful. No concern for justice? Nothing of pity? Is God only the gossip of the living? Then we watch these living speed like birds over the surface of a water, and one will dive or plunge but not come up again and never be seen any more. And in our turn we will never be seen again, once gone through that surface. But then we have no proof that there is no depth under the surface. We cannot even say that our knowledge of death is shallow. There is no knowledge. There is longing, suffering, mourning. These come from need, affection, and lovethe needs of the living creature, because it is a living creature. There is also strangeness, implicit. There is also adumbration. Other states are sensed. All is not flatly knowable. There would never have been any inquiry without this adumbration, there would never have been any knowledge without it. But I am not life's examiner, or a connoisseur, and I have nothing to argue. Surely a man would console, if he could. But that is not an aim of mine. Consolers cannot always be truthful. But very often, and almost daily, I have strong impressions of eternity. This may be due to my strange experiences, or to old age. I will say that to me this does not feel elderly. Nor would I mind if there were nothing after death. If it is only to be as it was before birth, why should one care? There one would receive no further information. One's ape restiveness would stop. I think I would miss mainly my God adumbrations in the many daily forms. Yes, that is what I should miss.
Two sensations stood out as peculiarly blissful in my childhood... The first has been alluded to: the awareness of things going by, impinging on my consciousness, and then, all beyond my control, sliding away toward their own destination and destiny.
The traffic on
sent me the Updike piece and it reminded me of one of my very
earliest memories. It was an occasion when I was four or less
when my grandfather took me to window of the front room of my
grandparents terrace house in Newhey,
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