Vern Barnet, copyright
1969, Chicago Illinois
in the early 1960s with additions year by year; a
bound, and "published" samizdat with about 20 line drawings in
dozen or so copies in 1969. What follows below is the 1969 version
without the art and with subsequent notes by a friend and myself for
cleaning up the text.
I am embarrassed by much of Klindebook,
and my opinions about many things have changed. Still, as a youthful
attempt to understand religion, and particularly myth, I still like the
direction I charted; and I hope some day to revise this with any wisdom
I have since been given.
text follow the outline, or vice versa?
look for [...] and [sic] for problems in the text.
move *'d footnotes to bottom of appropriate page.
Preface should be unnecessary and ought to be ignored. Only
quasi-intellectual might need to read it. Those desiring an
Introduction should turn to the Appendix.
1. That These Are Translations
2. The Necessity of Myth
3. Criteria of the Proposed Myth
4. The Doctrine of Doom
5. The Style of the Translation
translations are null and void, vain, empty, and silly.
Nevertheless, they may be helpful to creatures caught in the illusion
of purpose, or drawn into the abyss of meaninglessness. Since
must most of the time submit to Delusion, we need an integrated
structure to lead us toward Eternity-in-the-Present, the kairos of
love, when purpose is superfluous, when awareness needs neither subject
nor object. But that any written effort should be made in
direction is a cause for wonder, if not for the charge of blasphemy,
for joke, if not for scorn and derision. For man must laugh
what he takes most seriously.
what sense are the following works translations? In a way
like asking in what sense is a work Christian. The best
comes from a study of the work. The sense in which these
are "translations" is best understood after an examination of them, for
the pages themselves state the form of translation.
remarks can be made here which may somewhat clarify why what follows
are called translations. First, and most important: these are
translations of experience into an hypothesis, a method, a system, a
myth. (I say experience," not because my experience has been
unusual, but to insist that revelation is a translation of experience,
not something apart from the human situation. Perhaps
"transfiguration" would be a better word--except that it is apt to
If there are values one wishes to communicate, and
even suggest that others consider their adoption, one must choose a
method. If these values are the most general, comprehensive
values which are religious, that method must be myth. But
trying to justify the mythic method, I eliminate alternative
methods. Autobiography would be foolish, dangerous, and
misleading. Philosophy might have been tried except that it
often dull to the ordinary person, and more often incomprehensible;
besides, today philosophy is so narrowly conceived that what is
necessary would surely be rejected as philosophy, at least by the
philosophers. Poetry would be a poor choice since no one
it, and those who do are likely to misunderstand the nonpoetic
intention; and I am not competent to make a sustained effort of this
sort in verse. Anyhow, poetry is suspect to the average
man. Fiction would not easily allow the scientific and
elements; moreover, it is too secular for these purposes.
Systematic theology has too limited an audience, and I too limited
background and ability; and it is particularly important to avoid too
Well, then, if the mythic method is
chosen, why not write the myth in English in the first place?
This question is asked only if it is forgotten that this work is a
translation not primarily of a work in another language, but a
translation of experience, a system found helpful to organize
existence. The truth that there are documents in a strange
language can be understood best after reading these translations; but
to hint at the point, it may be said that the myth itself demands a
language of its own, for the myth is conceived in terms alien to
assumptions structured in our language.
Again, these are
translations because they are inexact expressions of religious
knowledge, necessarily inexact because one cannot communicate religious
knowledge perfectly; nor can one be allowed to say that a translation
has been proposed as an unalterable statement of absolute
The act of translation is an excuse for failure to express the
Incommensurable and also permits correction and improvement at a future
time. A myth which is not understood as translation is called
Finally, these are translations in the sense that
insights from physics, biology, Christianity, Buddhism, Teutonic
mythology, William Blake, Paul Tillich, Rilke, Rembrandt, Beethoven,
etc., are changed by being peculiarly integrated. It may be
that revelation is prior to study of such subjects, but that study
deepens, enforces, and teaches ways to express these
But to say this is not important; for many of these insights are
common; and that sources are not specifically acknowledged is also not
important since the source is ultimately Human; moreover, no
originality on my part is claimed--I am merely a translator.
a. The theme
Ontological knowledge or information can be
expressed in many ways--in action, attitudes, painting, music, dance,
architecture, poetry, etc. But all these media are
for social discourse, and are limited by their forms. Myth
the advantage of being primarily expressed in words, and its form can
be completely comprehensive, indicating or including all other
forms. Myth is much more accessible to all men than, say, the
last quartets of Beethoven.
It is important to realize that when
science says it speaks of reality it is speaking ontologically--and
mythically. For a myth is a model of reality. The
scientific myths are by convention limited to certain aspects of
reality: they are confined emotionally and legislatively.
Science, vulgarly conceived as a method of experiment, limits itself to
belief; technology to control; art to meaning and purpose in a
contrived, artificial experience; myth is most comprehensive for it is
concerned with the whole of being, experience itself, the integration
of what we perceive to be its parts. What is important here
this: a myth is not necessarily an untruth. The scientific
explanation of seasons (the tilt of the earth's axis) is only part of
the truth about the procession of months; there is also truth in the
story of Ceres and Persephone which is not contradicted by
science. But if forced to choose between the two, some might
think the latter to be a better explanation, at least for most people,
because the cosmic processes are in it integrated with human
dependence, aspiration, and experience.
Some expansion of this
theme seems necessary, though I do not pretend to produce more than
guidelines for those philosophers and theologians who insist on
dissecting language and spirit. The theme takes its ground in
thesis that religious statements are in kind as verifiable as those of
science. But this foreground is illocatable without the
background of presuppositions concerning the source of knowledge, the
nature of religion, and the accidental history of science and religion.
After presenting these assumptions, I conclude the argument with
b. The presuppositions
source of knowledge is experience. A transcendent source of
information is technically self-contradictory, like "insensible
sensation" or "inexpressible description." These phrases and
others like them are useful only metaphorically, for they point to the
Whole which we ordinarily are not conscious of but which we may
experience in Eternity, or they may be used as qualitative descriptions
for events particularly powerful and enlightening.
This is not
to deny that there are events and objects which we do not experience,
for the class of occurrences is normally presupposed to be greater than
the class of experiences; but unless we experience events, it makes no
sense to speak of knowledge of them. As it is confusion to
cannot conceive of something unconceived, so it is confusion to deny
that we can make no descriptions of the unconceived thing or have no
knowledge of it.
But experience is not limited to the
sensate. Our modes of perception and prejudices are not
but nevertheless influence what we feel and how we interpret
sensations. (Whether concepts like "unicorn" are ultimately
derived from the senses is an unimportant question here, for when we
say "Unicorns are fabulous animals each having one horn," which seems
like knowledge though no unicorn has ever been experienced, we
nevertheless experience the concept of "unicorn," and no more could be
expected since unicorns are not real, though the concept is.)
is that activity which reaches toward experiencing the integration of
all events. This conception of religion is best discussed in
parts, (1) the integration of experience, and (2) the relation between
experience and events.
————put these 3 lines at the bottom of the page
*This topic is included here among the presuppositions because the
definition is prescriptive, not descriptive.
The integration is personal, societal, and interdisciplinary; the
experiences are moral, esthetic, and pragmatic (technical).
Simple examples of the integration of experience will clarify what is
meant. Newton's theory of gravitation integrated celestial
terrestrial mechanical phenomena. The myth of Persephone, as
already pointed out, integrated the cosmic process of the seasons with
human aspiration, agricultural dependence, and social
organization. Hosea integrated the overwhelming experience of
love for Gomer, despite her harlotry, with his conception of Yahweh, to
develop the idea of corrective punishment. The Grosse Fugue
integrates elements presented in preceding movements of Beethoven's
B-flat quartet. Rear Adm. J. Floyd Dreith showed a lack of
integration (in the depth psychology sense) when he said (Newsweek, 24
Feb 64, p63) concerning mandatory attendance at religious exercises at
military academies, "a deep religious conviction is not only an asset
but a necessity to the military fighting man." Whether there
be an evil integration (such as totalitarianism which extends to all
sectors of public and private life) is a question of extreme
importance, but one which need not be answered here since it is
explicitly dealt with in The Book of the Wars.
(2) As religion
involves the integration of experience, so it seeks to comprehend all
events. To make this clear, it is necessary to say that the
of events is larger than the class of experience. Religion
to expand the latter class until it approaches identity with the
former. But at first it appears that it is only in a mystical
sense that the religious man experiences, or tries to experience, all
events; for one man cannot experience both a married and a celibate
life, and what value would there be in the experience of counting to
1,000,000,000? It seems he can neither experience all actual
all possible events, for man is finite within space and time.
(*Only in Eternity, as noted below, can these limitations be overcome;
then only can mutually exclusive events be integrated by the Void,
Ambiguity, or Nondistinction.) Moreover, there are some
would seem best not to experience (roasting in fire, or seeing the
paralysis of the United Nations, or [missing words here] continued
escalation of the mystical, is there any valid sense to the statement,
"religion seeks to expand the class of experience toward identity with
the class of events"?
——–put these 22 lines at the bottom of the page
comment about the event of radical religious activity, called Integrity
or Eternity, will conclude this statement of the presupposition
concerning the nature of religion. Regarding whether
assertions about Integrity or Eternity are possible (for they would
concern, respectively, the whole of experience and all events), I
specify that only formal statements can be made; material statements
are possible only of parts. The reason for this is that
is a state of nondistinction; hence words (which distinguish) can apply
to it only as directions, or as models of its reality. Just
there is one nature (which scientists hope to express in a super-duper
Unified Field Theory), tho natural law we have in a million shreds and
patches, so only can we express the Eternal, never in whole but only in
fragments (in models called myths); for to express is to fragment, and
to express discursively is to fragment reason from intuition, passion,
and sensation (to follow Blake). Rational discourse is part,
certainly, of the whole, but it is not the whole. Myth,
music, and dance can come closer to modeling the whole and directing
toward Wholesomeness because they can include reason as well as other
modes of apprehension and creation.
I believe there is, if
"experience" is used in only a few of its possible meanings.
experience of pain is of a different sort than the experience as a
student, or of war, or in love, or with the associative law of algebra
through a lecture. Experience can be participation, empathy,
aspiration, or simply awareness. In this last sense of
intensity, reaching toward experiencing all events simply means seeking
to increase one's knowledge. Various meanings of "experience"
appropriate in various contexts.
Religion was defined as "that
activity which reaches toward experiencing the integration of all
events." Some events conflict with others so that one may
participate in this and only be aware of that. And in this
choices are necessary if one is to integrate experiences. As
events are experienced and because events and experience change,
religion must also change. A normative definition of religion
That religion is best which integrates most.
(1) and (2) In a
word, I reject the separatist view that religion is one thing and the
rest of life another. Nor is religion a syrup to pour over
transactions and hesitations; rather it is the search for meaning in
these events and the activity of fitting them together. The
separatists only perpetuate and increase the fragmentation of the age.
Art, science, politics--all are religious activities and accountable to
further presupposition is that it is largely a historical accident that
we have greater agreement about scientific problems than we do about
religious questions; this is not due to the inherent natures of science
and religion. Many have assumed the contrary to support the
position that scientific theories have objective verification but
religious assertions do not--else why would there be such widespread
The situation is now complicated by those who,
perplexed but nevertheless unable to examine their presuppositions,
assert that religious statements are meaningless and nonsensical, or
meaningful but unverifiable. I believe this lamentable
has developed because religious statements given in current discussions
are in fact false; and to save these assertions from the disgrace of
error, they are now in places simply called unverifiable articles of
A further point is that these people judge religion by
Christianity; thus per accidens they have a limited and imbalanced view
of religion. The Christian emphasis on belief is peculiar to
it. Hence it is difficult for people of limited perspective
conceive of religion as described above, and it is hard for religion to
take its proper place in the West where reason, passion, sensation, and
drive are consequently imbalanced and disintegrated. If this
so, there is little room for surprise at the difficulties Christians
have with their beliefs.
c. The argument
The thesis is: That religious statements
are in kind as verifiable as scientific statements, for both science
and religion are interpretations of experience. To evidence
I compare religious and scientific assertions; for whatever
difficulties the philosophers may have with the latter, they are
nevertheless considered objective and paradigm cases (witness TV
commercials!) of verifiable statements. (The topic of
truth is not directly relevant to this discussion, so it is here
The argument is: That both scientific and religious
models rest on value judgments as well as on facts, and several models
may be useful for different people. Beginning with the
observation that evaluative as well as factual statements are properly
called true or false, the argument continues with a discussion of two
sorts of truth, indicated by paradigm cases from science and then
illustrated by religious assertions.
While both the scientist
and the religionist would typically agree that there is something more
to their activities than the language they use, some "reality" to which
they hope their language corresponds, neither should claim to know that
"reality" in any absolute sense. The most that can be said
is that they are each concerned with verifiable models of that
"reality." If it is so, then the religionist need not worry
because he does not know that reality which he represents parabolically
or mythically, for neither does the scientist know his "reality" and
yet we allow his statements to be true.
Of course, the scientist
has criteria for deciding what model shall be called true; and I
suggest that the same criteria may be used by the religionist.
that all we know is a model of reality instead of reality is in
Tillich's phrase "broken myth." But since that is all we can
know, it seems that talk about "reality" is foolish except to warn us
never to be unwilling to change our models which, with this proviso, we
may as well call reality. The dualism of reality and symbol
Two kinds of prima facie truth should be
distinguished. The first is of the sort by which we call true
statement like "this copper wire conducts electricity." This
statement seems directly, empirically verifiable. The
"all bodies continue at rest or in a straight line in uniform motion
unless acted upon by an outside force" is not directly empirically
verifiable; as a matter of fact, there are no bodies unaffected by
outside forces. Yet we usually wish to say that this is a
meaningful assertion, and a true one. It involves both simple
facts like the one about copper and an evaluative element.
first kind of truth may be called "observational" or "fact-truth,"
which means when applied to an assertion that the assertion is so; the
second kind may be called "value-truth" (not to be confused with
truth-value), which expresses a preference for the model implied by the
assertion called true.
A further and typical example from
science (in a preRelativity context, for simplicity) will clarify the
latter kind of truth. To say the Copernican view that the
revolves around the sun is true and to say that the Ptolemaic view that
the sun revolves are around the earth is false is to use this
"value-truth." This is because no objective (i.e., void of
valuation) means to settle the dispute exists. (Of course, a
that the earth is in the center of the sun contains empirical
implications which on objective grounds invalidates the
Both the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems are equally capable of
accurately predicting celestial motions.
If this is so, then why
did the Copernican eventually gain acceptance? Because data
became easier to organize, the mathematics were simpler (except in
navigation, where the Ptolemaic is still used), and later the
Copernican models could integrate a theory of universal gravitation,
uniting both terrestrial and celestial appearances. The point
this is that it is possible to call one model true and another false on
other than purely objective grounds. Science is concerned
organizing facts, and the method, model, system, hypothesis, theory, or
law chosen to organize them rests on not only a judgment of facts but
also of value.
A closer examination of the distinction between
"fact-" and "value-truth" is necessary. In the case of "this
copper wire conducts electricity," electricity is itself a theoretical
construct which cannot adequately be translated by correspondence [sic]
rules into observational equivalents. What is observable is
vague, and depends on the state of science, instruments constructed by
certain theories (thus a circularity), and the perceptual equipment and
biases of observers. There is thus some basis to question
"objective facts" can be distinguished from evaluative constructions.
also offer models of experience, which are properly called
Neither models of science nor religions should be arbitrary or ad
hoc. For all models, three ordinary criteria may be used in
judgment: (1) the dependable explanation of observable phenomena
(correspondence), (2) the integration of these explanations
(coherence), and (3) ease and success in application of these
explanations (pragmatic, predicative, [sic] or therapeutic
power.) The common use of these criteria does not mean that
is no difference between science and religion. A historical,
accidental difference in their content has been that science is
concerned with objects (this is no longer strictly true), and religion
is concerned with the integration of subject and object; or, science is
concerned with things of conditional worth, and religion considers the
question of absolute worth. But common use of the above
does mean that neither should claim to give us "reality" in language
needing no improvement; these criteria will end all disputes in neither
science nor religion, for both grow and change as new "facts" and
geniuses appear. There will always be unsolved problems in
areas, and some paradoxes (as contemporary physics shows).
Nevertheless, the application of these criteria to scientific and
religious models enables one to approach "reality" in a community
sharing a common method, and gives justification for calling statements
with evaluative elements "true" or "false"--in other words, with these
criteria, we can verify models.
The first example of how
religious statements can be verified is modest and rather like the
scientific assertion that copper conducts electricity. The
assertion is: God rewards the virtuous and punishes the wicked
according to their desserts in this life. (Here for the sake
simplicity in argument I assume God exists, as I assumed
electricity.) Now, this question was once hotly debated
those who received prosperity--and thus could afford to support
instituted religion--and those who suffered misfortune. (I am
thinking of the Hebrew prophetic period and after.) Accepting
higher criticism, the debate is culminated in the original book of Job,
a powerful refutation of the assertion. Or since empirical
meanings can be assigned to the terms of the assertion, one need merely
read the papers or look at the world (without assuming analytic truth)
to see that the assertion is not true. We could test it by
sophisticated experiment or statistical methods. But, as
the copper wire might be proof enough, so a clear look at the world
might lead one to agree "the rain falls on the just and the unjust."
second example is more like the "value-truth" of scientific
models. But to illustrate this adequately would involve the
construction of an entire myth, for statements outside their models are
babblings and nonsense (as use of some "gravitational force" would be
within Relativity); and to apply the three suggested criteria to part
and not all of the system is unfair. Nevertheless, I will try
indicate briefly how verification might proceed. The problem
suggested by Peter Munz's Problems_of_Religious_Knowledge (175ff)
though his view of religious knowledge is not mine.
Of these three assertions about Eternity, which is true?
A. The soul
continues forever in time.
B. The soul,
different from physical objects, can transcend or annihilate time in
the next world.
C. ". . . he lives
eternally who lives in the present." (Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 6.4311)
A, the continuance view, has the virtue of promoting group
consciousness, it has limited therapeutic value for man standing on the
abyss if he thinks the future (as by reincarnation) might be horrible
(applying criterion 3). Contradictions would plague the
of B (criterion 2); and the next life could be either desirable or not,
which is not therapeutic (criterion 3). And neither A nor B
great support from the world of experience (criterion 1).
are many things to be said in favor of C, the "transfiguration view" of
eternity. As concerns "consistency" (2), I see no
with such a doctrine; and it moreover seems to integrate well with
religions judged or characterized as "therapeutic" (3).
Anthropological and psychological research may indicate that the
transfiguration view is the most therapeutic, for the view effectively
deals with the apparent separateness of men and their relation to the
rest of the universe, in this life (so criterion 1, "correspondence,"
becomes a more significant concern). "Peak experiences,"
symbiosis, what may be called "economic symbiosis" (dependence on
others, and mutual benefit, for production and distribution of food,
and their dependence on our consumption, for example), the sometimes
world-wide effect of a single man's actions, ecology, the distress of
those who seek for selfish, personal immortality, and implications of
LSD experiments indicate that the theory of transfiguration (and its
necessary lemma, [sic] the denial of absolute individuality)
corresponds (1) with the "facts," and dependably explains observable
phenomena--from the sciences to the personal experience of "losing
oneself in another" or a work of art--this transfiguration is what
psychologists call functioning with maximum efficiency.
Notwithstanding the probable eschatological import of many of Christ's
sayings, his stress on living in the present ("Take no thought for the
morrow."), his insistence that he who seeks his life shall lose it,
while he who loses it shall find his life, his offer of rebirth into
the kingdom of heaven in_this_life, and Paul's idea of union and
freedom in Christ--these can be interpreted as proclaiming the
psychological and ontological validity of the transfiguration view of
eternity. I have not verified this view here, but it was
show how verification might proceed, and--important for this
argument--that verification in religion is possible.
familiar with contemporary science thinks there are no hotly debated
issues. So religious disputes should not be
That two men, after considering all that there is to consider about
given religious models, still use different ones does not invalidate
the meaning of verifications for religions statements. The
grinder, valuing convenience, treats light as waves; the photo-electric
cell manufacturer acts as if light were corpuscular. They are
concerned with different experiences, and each of their models works
best for their own experience. Similarly, the Roman myth may
best for a Catholic because of his experience, and an atheist may find
his model more suited to his experience. Recognizing that
religions often create artificial needs, one can look for a more
comprehensive model to integrate not only man's personal experiences
but also those of his society, and the disciplines. But
people are different, and no two men share exactly the same
experiences, universal agreement in either science or religion is not
possible. I have tried to show that this in no way prevents
use of the concept of verification in either science or religion.
should be acknowledged to those who question the accuracy or
sophistication of this argument that there are in it many
oversimplifications and omissions of important considerations; it is
hoped that the necessity for brevity will excuse some of these.
d. Summary comments
Because the Christian myth, like the
Ptolemaic system, has become obsolete, it has been in some places
rejected. But unlike the situation in the scientific world
a new and better model took the place of the old, some people (like
some Unitarians), thinking they can know reality directly, reject
models altogether. They live either in a world of "brute
with no significance, or they have some unadmitted model of reality,
generally sick because it is never examined; but they refuse to call it
I have suggested that there are two main reasons for
disagreements in religion. First, the criteria of evaluation
not been applied to religious models; were they applied, the most
common notions would be pronounced ridiculous. This is why
religion has often been afraid of reason.
confusion is due to the differences in people and their experiences in
the world; they have different religious needs, though it is probably
true that most of the needs people find satisfied in traditional
religions have been artificially created by the religions themselves.
factors, such as personal and institutional involvement in religion,
and its conception of truth as eternally revealed and unchanging, also
account for the fact that at present there is far greater consensus in
some areas of some sciences than in many areas of religion.
Mainly, I have tried to show that verification of myths is as
meaningful as verification of scientific theories.
of what was said in the last section will now be modified in important
ways. A myth is not just a model of reality; nor is a
theory necessarily mythical because a myth is more than an explanation:
it is a paradigmatic experience.
a. Explanation in Myth and Science
science and religion use models (theories or myth) in their
explanations. Scientific explanation and models has been a
argued issue in recent philosophy of science, but if I can judge the
drift of the controversy, most agree that if there is a need for models
in science, it is a psychological, not a logical need.
mechanics, for example, has no model. (Of course, in a
trivial sense because it is all-inclusive--all statements are models,
Explanation.--An important limitation of science,
placing it on a level below religion, is that science simply
explains. (Technology utilizes science in control or
prediction. In practice it is, of course, difficult to
pure from applied science, and the distinction is not crucial
here.) Those in academic circles tend to forget that there is
something more to life than explanation. Even if a scientific
system were absolutely complete and self-sufficient, i.e., could
explain everything, it would be completely meaningless unless someone
had at least some preexplained experience which would give existential
meaning to at least some of the terms (without a minimum of such
experience even formal relationships would be
Suppose that music could be perfectly explained in the equations and
descriptions of this super-science, including its effect on people,
which even a deaf scholar could master; would not hearing music be far
superior to reading the explanation, at least in terms of richness of
life? Moreover, science cannot explain unique events, or the
uniqueness of events, for there are some things which are inexplicable
in principle. The explanation of the thing, which science
to give, is not the thing itself.
Are myths themselves not
explanations? Many writers have treated myth as explanation
natural phenomena, the social order, or specific religious
The myth and ritual school, for example, held that myths developed to
justify ritual performances. In the preceding section myth
treated as explanation, myth differing from science only because by
convention science has limited itself to certain aspects of
reality. While it is true that myths do in fact explain, they
more than explanations. The myth itself becomes a primary
experience as well as an explanation of experiences, for
it_demands_to_return_to_primal_time, to the first event which,
because_it_was_first,_explains. As a primary (not primal)
experience, myth may integrate other experiences, just as the C-Sharp
Minor Quartet of Beethoven may do, without explaining these experiences
in any scientific sense. It is foolish to assume, because
make references to reality, that myths must have counterparts in the
propositions of science. Myths may include statements which
be translated into science; this is accidental, and not essential.
like Freud and Tylor, have argued that science is making myths obsolete
(since science provides better explanations). Some
like Millikin and Einstein have seen the history of religion
progressing from a mythical stage to an ethical stage, and finally to a
cosmic stage or position from which man can control nature.
many of these scientists think of themselves as defenders of religion,
and no doubt would be correct if they asserted that man can experience
the sacred without myths, science and the rationalism which have it
birth have flooded our lives with instrumental purposes, hiding the
divine purpose (this phrase will be explained later). It is
important to note that even when a myth (as opposed to science) gives
one control, the mystery does not disappear, nor is it ignored or
denied as scientists who wish to explain everything do. As
Professor Eliade says:
[Mythic] revelations do not constitute
"knowledge" in the strict sense, they do not exhaust the mystery of
cosmic and human realities. By learning their origin myth,
becomes able to control various cosmic realities (for example, fire,
harvests, snakes, etc.); but this does not mean that one has
transformed them into "objects of knowledge." These realities
will keep their original condition. Myth_and_Reality, 142-3
seems to me, then, that science (and theology, too--but that's another
story) and technology have created a complex world and added dangers
primitive man never felt; now more than ever a myth is needed to orient
us to our world and to the sacred.
b. The Myth as Sacred Narrative
myth is more than a model, then, because it does more than
explain. A myth also is a specific kind of model, a kind not
specified in the Preface but which Eliade makes clear at the outset of
his Myth_and_Reality: "Myth narrates a sacred history" of primal beings
whose actions shaped the world to what it is today. If one
not restrict the term to sacred narrative, a difficulty arises for the
student of myth: what is myth, then, constantly changes with the
"progress" of science. Unless one recognizes the sacred
the mythic narrative, myth becomes simply a kind of belief.
cannot be reduced to belief, any more than walking can be reduced to
belief. A belief involves a proposition about an experience
set of experiences. If one were to use the word "belief" to
to a myth, it would mean something more because myth is that primary
experience itself of which the critical question of truth and falsity
does not apply: believing a myth means experiencing the myth in its
sacred, compelling, and absolute power.
c. Play and Purpose in Myth and Science
most important difference between science and myth so far mentioned is
that myth is more inclusive: while it may contain propositions
translatable into scientific language, it (as experience) transcends
explanation because it can compel action according to its sacred,
paradigmatic character, illuminating the basis of existence.
While we may say of a scientific explanation that it is true, it is
better to say of a myth that it is genuine because in its compelling
fullness the critical question of truth cannot arise. Thus,
Professor Eliade's words,
The mode of being of the myth is
precisely that it reveals_itself_as_myth, that is, it announces that
something has_been_manifested in a paradigmatic manner".
A formula like F=ma neither tells how nor compels one to act.
scientist or technician may act in certain ways and not others because
of his knowledge of a formula, but his actions are_instrumental, not
intrinsic.) This is not to deny that scientific discovery may
a genuine religious experience, for myth is one kind, and not the class
of, religious experience. But the scientist can hardly
himself recreate the reality of the formula; the actions of gods or men
can be imitated, not abstractions. Hence a nonanthropomorphic
religion is a logical impossibility.
crucial--distinction between science and myth is that science deals
with a profane world and myth with the sacred. It may appear
I am speaking of two worlds and fragmenting reality, but I am not, as
may become clear shortly. For now it might do to say that the
profane world is not a world; for "the world becomes apprehensible as
world, as cosmos, in the measure in which it reveals itself as a sacred
world." [a reference here?] The profane world is
with goals, plans, purposes, obligations, relative judgments,
"hang-ups"--work. This is because in the profane world there
no paradigm to free one from the anxiety of choice. Play, on
other hand, has no purpose. One does what one does without
necessity for justification. Play is the creation of a world
outside the profane: the sacred.
The scientist when doing pure science may be playing; but that science
itself, since it is not arbitrary, is not play.
on the other hand, is play because it needs no justification for
itself. As play, its meaning is intrinsic. One is
from profane instrumentality and instead confronts reality
directly. Myth is even a special kind of play, for the whole
world is the subject of mythology, and thus all existence is
play. Here the earlier distinction between the sacred and the
profane breaks down, for sub specie ludens [sic] all reality is
sacred. In the profane mode, traces of the sacred are never
but because these intimations are present, man knows his reality is
fragmented, and he seeks some ultimate purpose to justify his
instrumental actions. This is why Modern man's "private
mythologies"--his dreams, reveries, fantasies, and so on--never rise to
the ontological status of myth, precisely because they are not
experienced by the whole_man and therefore do not transform a
particular situation that is paradigmatic.
Eliade, Sacred_and_Profane, 211
This is why, for primitives,
"not to be aware that all that is truly human is reducible to divine
prototypes, is sacrilege." [a reference here?] It
necessity to justify what one does which is not mythical, because the
myth serves no extrinsic purpose, for it deals with the whole, the
outer limit. Purposive behavior is condemned in the religious
revolution among the young today in America, especially among the
hippies whose experiments with drugs led to an understanding of play as
the basis of reality and the holy, since drugs disallowed instrumental
purpose and focused attention on the unique. Adolf Jensen
Myth_and_Cult_Among_Primitive_Peoples, 202) seems to be describing the
"middleclass" values and purposes of our society against which the
hippies have revolted:
An individual, unencumbered by religious
commitments or any capacity or artistic experience, viewing purposive
action as the sole determinant and complete fulfillment of human
existence, may have subdued much that is essentially human and yet may
have attained a leading position in public life. According to
primitive belief, his life would be a single sacrilege. . . .
if we see the myth as a kind of play of the whole, the split between
fact and value is overcome, for the myth is the paradigm, needing no
explanation, compelling action or understanding, creating cosmos out of
chaos by the events narrated because they were primal.
is concerned with the world of classes of things. The myth is
concerned with the unique and discrete, because it is concerned with
the sacred. Though the myth is a kind of pattern for events
profane time, insofar as it is ritualized or followed, thus far it
erupts into the present, so that the uniqueness of the primal time is
Tensions between the unique and the repeatable, and
between the sacred and the profane, and play and purpose, may in fact
lie behind the mythic impulse, as suggested by Claude Levi-Strauss, for
they struggle for resolution. And ultimately there seems no
difference between the sacred and the profane, instrumental and divine
(intrinsic) purpose, and the unique and the repeatable, when one tries
to apply these terms to the whole reality.
Just so, there is no
split between what is and what should be (facts and values) in
experience, only in explanation. Those with myths have a
tremendous advantage in seeing reality whole. It will be
that my definition of religion involved integration into the
whole. It seems that primitives may, if we can trust Jensen,
close to realizing this wholesomeness:
Religion among primitive
peoples is not recognition of man's duties as the divine character of
reality; then reverence is not a duty but a natural attitude toward the
If the distinction between science and myth given
above is valid, science being explanatory, profane, concerned with
classes rather than with the unique, and as part of the world of
purpose which denies an ethic of play, and myth being a compelling
narrative of primal, creative action, a play, a sacred freedom--if
these differences are real, then our culture needs myth much more than
it does science.
Can a science which has a goal of evolutionary
development inspire anything more than an instrumental, profane ethical
system? Perhaps attention to the entropic nature of the
rather than betting on the evolutionary processes provides a better
basis for ethics, simply because it will not permit any basis for
(instrumental) ethics. Like the hippies' attention to drugs,
entropy indicates all there is is play, that meaning is not extrinsic
to our existence. Entropy is an eruption of the sacred into
world of the profane. But a scientific explanation of entropy
still explanation. What is needed is an entropic myth.
suggested that all statements about reality are mythical, religious
assertions no more so than scientific, I now list criteria for judging
the religious myth in particular. These criteria may have
applicability; it should not be expected that all are relevant to the
Hottentot. The division into formal and material
is convenient, though somewhat arbitrary. Briefly entering
criteria suffices here; hopefully their explanation lies in the
execution of the translation.
1. An adequate symbol-picture, model, system, or
myth must give man significance (order, meaning, coherence) and
purpose. It almost seems tautological to say that if there is
myth which has lost its meaning, or has become trivial, it ought to be
2. It must unify experience (to make hypocrisy
impossible) by showing the human in cosmic terms and the universe as
man's drama. A therapeutic myth would organize all of man's
experience and present reality as a living whole; the sciences and
humanities would be remarried by religion. The fragmentation
person and of society would be healed.
3. The myth must nurture
belief in personal worth. Even the most mediocre is more than
number within an area code, more than a mechanism responding to
commercials. The individual cannot have integrity unless he
believes he is worth something as a person.
4. High social
cohesion must be insured by the myth. If a woman screams for
help, those who hear her must be impelled to help. (This and
criterion 3 are interdependent.)
5. The myth must be internally consistent; that is, one part would not
support bombing enemies if another says to love them.
The myth must correspond to the scientific picture of
This is not nearly as important as internal consistency because what is
acceptable science today may be hogwash tomorrow. And science
accountable to religion, not the other way around. But
the scientific model should fit within the myth.
7. The myth
must be changeable (like a folksong) and indeed dynamic (like a Greek
myth); anyone may improve upon it since living myth is not dead dogma,
just as scientific models are not identified as the unalterable,
eternal, perfectly-revealed and stated absolute truth.
Feasts, festivals, play, dance, art, etc., must be supported by any
good myth (these realize the myth), for it is in communal participation
that man loses and finds himself. The festival is a time when
can become the gods, and has their understanding.
9. Opportunity and mechanism must be provided for sacrifice.
Salvation must come by attainment, not by conversion; by grace, not by
works: the religion of the myth must contain both historical and
11. The content of the myth must be literally possible against the
skepticism of modern man.
12. The myth must explain the nature of evil, and of
13. the suffering and the creation which suffering relates to, and of
14. birth and death.
The content should concern the republic of man, not the kingdom of
God. This means each man must accept full responsibility for
actions, which choose [sic] for all men. Democracy must
all citizens; they must participate in their government, which must be
organized to seek opinions from them.
16. Eternity must be interpreted not as an endless extension of time,
but rather as its cessation.
The myth should emphasize that, while man can forgive mistakes, the
universe cannot because every error leads to an increase of entropy.
Immortality should be explained as impersonal, rather than personal,
which is selfish. Group eschatology generates social cohesion.
The basic eschatological presumption must be unavoidable but
postponable doom, cosmic, social, and personal. Jesus was
free and to be uninhibited by the thought of an imminent kingdom of
God; for modern man the recognition that all men and their works share
the same end has the same effect.
is not the place to explain the Klinden doctrine of doom, which is
based on an analogy between the affairs of men and the Second Law of
Thermodynamics; but brief mention may be made of indications that the
Klinden teaching may be relevant to our situation. Doom seems
inevitable as the march of science, simply because (while man is born
neither a confirmed saint nor sinner) the number of possibilities for
disintegration is increasing much more rapidly than the possibilities
for integrity. Change is vulgarly called Progress.
Technological gain is confused with spiritual improvement.
following auguries of doom are natural progressions from the first
wheel, which began the journey toward Doom.
using psychological research for their own profits. (This
complaint and others are not necessarily condemnations.
Advertising is essential for our economy's growth. The
is that this is necessarily so, and that this necessity is part of the
structure of doom.) The public relations craft is not just a
questionable economic and social force, for more and more political
fortunes use its manipulations. But business itself is
increasingly run by witch doctors called industrial psychologists.
mechanization of society is beginning to produce the cyborg, the
man-machine, the hero of comic books and technological medicine, a
construction seeking no "ultimate" purpose. But this itself
not the augury of doom; what is, is the impossibility to draw a line
between machines which are legitimately useful to man and machines
while rule men. Moreover, as medical science progresses the
lifespan of man-machine can be extended forever; death will cease to
give meaning to life. Further, saving lives of persons with
genetic defects interrupts natural selection, and prolongation of life
puts a burden on the youth. When livers, hearts, endocrine
glands, and cerebral lobes can be replaced, and when genes can be
selected, destroyed, and created, no one will think of looking for Man.
seems only little cause for hope for a solution to the world's
population problem (which breeds disregard for the individual and
causes psychological, if not nutritional, disorders) without the use of
totalitarian means, which seem in the offing anyhow.
crime, pollution, the race situation, welfare, and the apathetic middle
class are problems a bigger and less responsive, more specialized and
dishonest government seems to be unable to anything significant
about. Few citizens escape decadent concern for private
as artists, teachers, scientists, or businessmen, by demanding a
participatory democracy which insures civil liberties for
Those few who are concerned with social ills often propose programs
which hurry the totalitarian era--like the idea that all should be
drafted to serve the State.
As fat, indulgent spectators at a
football game who root with decadent emphasis, we observe ignorant and
athletic insistence on national superiority, sovereignty, and
self-righteousness in the world community. The imminent peril
atomic catastrophe allows little time for power to yield to law, much
less to love. Our own chest-swelled national policies are
nearsighted, dangerous, and perhaps unavoidable.
The chance that
we can solve any of these problems is very slight, and there are
multitudes more, each of which hits and slashes at man's clarity of
thought and purity of will; and threats are the only relief.
Since these problems are compounded with each other, hope for solutions
is preposterous; can a man poisoned, shot, stabbed, run over, burned,
and irradiated reasonably expect to see tomorrow? Man has
problems, he cannot solve them, there is help from nowhere: man is
doomed. Yet it is Doom which gives a man's life Meaning.
texts here translated, of various authors and ages, are irregular,
sometimes poetic, sometimes amazingly pedestrian; I have not tried to
disguise this. Nor have I tried to make an implausible
more convincing, nor translate away contradictions; I have repaired
neither faulty organization nor logic, nor modified extreme
positions. The English version is purposely ambiguous in
and intention in several places because this seemed the best way to
translate there; and puns have not been neglected. I have
consciously tried to make this sound like a translation, even if this
requires an occasional awkward or stilted style--which is, perhaps, an
effect easy enough for me to achieve. Detailed notes await
publication of the original texts and an explanation of their
language. This translation has undoubtedly been influenced by
language of those of our civilization who have expressed similar ideas.
have said our age needs a new Faith, a new Bible, a new Kant.
Klinde and Klindebook do not pretend or presume these places.
Klindebook does, by its failures, amplify the condition of need.
THE BOOK OF THE EMIGRATION
This planet was once barren of human life; and though rich varieties of
plants and animals inhabited the three continents (and remained until
the Disaster), and though sentient creatures had learned the lesson of
commensalism, what was this nature without man? So man,
of surpassing the native cooperation by reaching even beyond symbiosis
to love, emigrated from the Cinder Planet (for once, before life there
destroyed itself, a great civilization flourished). Our
were emigrants from the Cinder Planet, and our history can be
understood best as a continuation of that dead world.
The Cinder Planet's technological society had reached a high degree of
centralization under the three years* of direction by
He was a democratically elected President of Nations, and his chief
achievement was an efficiency of government which theretofore had been
considered impossible except in a dictatorship. He was able
market demands as well as political climates by means of a tremendous
propaganda device far surpassing the telephone we so recently
outlawed. He was skilled at creating a consensus which all
branded minorities as heretics, haters of humanity, and the
He carefully seduced the free press into becoming an extension of the
government's control of thought. But these were early
accomplishments of his
----------*30 earth years.
For, after being re-elected to his second thirty-month term, he began
the violation of the human body by the insertion of mechanical and
electronic devices into the brain and other parts of the spirit's
physical construction. Yes, efficiency showed marked
with this program, for bit by bit man became more like machines, as
machines (computers and the like) became increasingly like
Human troublemakers were surgically rehabilitated, and the creative
spirit was destroyed. At first these demi-humans (or
quasi-machines) were installed or deluxed as volunteers; but youth were
so indoctrinated by government information and so eager to escape or
elude their responsibilities or sense of them in their exceedingly
complex environment, that
the demand to be an Improved Human was
for a short time beyond the supply and temporal ability of the
government's technological physicians. Before long the
legislative body, itself somewhat altered, recognized that these
operations were much easier and more effective at birth, and passed a
health measure to require installation of these devices within the
first week of life. In addition to limiting anxieties, these
things also greatly increased one's ability to enjoy the pleasures of
life; so those born before the law willingly submitted to the curettage
of the spirit which was, after all, done at the government's expense.
There were a few, of course, who refused to submit. Their
was very difficult. Parents who wished to have their children
excused from Improvement were often ostracized by society to the point
of losing employment and the services that are essential to members of
a complicated society. This was the case with Bentant's
who while he was young (the law was passed just after his birth) were
forced to take him to the wilds. In such primitive conditions
they raised Bentant who, they hoped, would be a human, if the
last. Thus, he was saved not only the implantation, but also
indoctrination of public schools and mass communication.
When he grew to an age, he began to consider what could be
At first he thought that humanity could be restored; but when he
encountered society (which his parents had only described) and learned
(after they died in the wilderness) how to pretend that he was also a
cyborg with a serial number, he began to see that escape was the only
possibility to perpetuate the human race or even himself; for his
several attempts at sabotage nearly cost him alteration by the
Inspector General, except that he was considered too dull or defective
to cause much trouble.
19. Only because he was capable of
love did he discover that Bentana (as she was soon to be called) was
not a cyborg. Her parents, before their lobotomies, had
encouraged her escape from the planet. Her father once worked
the space agency; so Bentana, adopting this name to appear Bentant's
sister, was able to aid their egress, which was all but impossible, for
a fantastic number of difficulties had to be overcome, especially since
space travel was limited to government personnel.
Nevertheless, in the year from which we count years, Bentant and
Bentana did emigrate to this planet, landing near where now the Great
Circle of Eternity commemorates this civilization's birth. It
the greatest irony of all time that a few months* later, Wolgarftho
also came to this planet. Of course, the classic explanation
this is the expression attributed to Wolgarftho himself:
------------* a few earth-years.
21. With surgical shaping of body and brain, the State
he shouted, fighting his way
through the fleshy programmed robots,
working on social security.
The spirit controlled by a
the body is like a machine,
the mind made lame,
the soul disposable!
O Brain! pricked with
electronic spikes and probes
controlling emotion, action, consideration,
within the skull enlarged from infancy
to house the coils, the cords, the needles
and transistors needed to receive the orders
from a local console run by a local positivist
who loves control of his slave village and all the merit he will get if
his boss is amused.
His boss is unlobotomized and
even has his appendix.
His boss is inhuman human control, a noncyborg in a society of cyborgs.
His boss is not pleased; he's
tired of games;
his competitions are duties, no longer pleasures of entertainment,
like a god playing solitaire
and bored with the game.
Everything works and runs
His boss shouts THE STATE
and runs through the crowds
and streets discontinue! his surgical shaping of body and brain,
leaves his own indeed menace
and lands anew to plague
himself and procreate a new and foreign state.
Bentant and Bentana's exit was carefully planned, not only to escape
but also to parent a new tribe of humanity, on a strange planet called
Adopted before the death of Klinde. The government research
vegetation had to be obtained and studied; fortunately, this planet
with its variety of plants for healthful nutrition was handy for the
new race. There were engineering problems, not only in the
transit but also in planning a supply of energy for
disembarkment. But, of course, the most dangerous aspect of
preparation was political threat. Some problems were not even
considered until after the landing; one of these was language.
Bentant and Bentana agreed that the commercial, propagandistic language
which was their only speech was unsuited to a race which they hoped
would be free of the misconceptions of man and the universe which had
caused fragmentation and cybernation in their home
Therefore, they began to invent a pure language: pure in vocabulary,
sound, and grammar. They made new language a prerequisite for
rearing a family.
61. In the 18th month* after the
emigration, a son named Heath was born. In the 30th month*, a
daughter whom they named Willow was born.
---------------*1 Klindemonth is about 2 earth-months; 1 Klindeyear, 60
Klindemonths, is about 10 earth-years.
It was when Willow was six months old that Wolgarftho, tired of playing
God, revolted [sic] his own system. (His exit was timely
for shortly thereafter the planet took the shape and form from which it
receives its present appellation.) His egress was infinitely
easier than that of the two who preceded him 36 months earlier*, since
he did not need intrigue and chance to effect his escape. He,
however and luckily, did not land on Klindelink**, but rather on
Klindetol***. After several months of solitude and
self-examination, Wolgarftho, not knowing there was another human on
this planet, decided to dedicate the balance of his life as a slave of
nature rather than as its master. He abandoned all his
and power supplies which he had brought with him, and began with a few
simple utensils to explore the land his maps indicated was near the
island he had learned peripatetically. He built a simple raft
which he floated toward Klindelink, guided by the light of his former
Finally his craft drifted ashore, and he
disembarked and headed inland. He explored the continent
enjoying nature, wondering at it, treating it personally instead of
hurrying toward a destination. Finally, in the 12th month of
2nd year of the Emigration, he happened upon Willow, who was playing on
the banks of the Great Lake. He was so surprised to meet
human, even a child, that his old desire for control reasserted itself
in a rage, and he tried to kill her. Heath was nearby and
prevented the murder. Wolgarftho's new resolutions returned
his consciousness, and as he fled he yelled apologies in a language
Bentant had almost forgot. A short time later Wolgarftho
happened upon the new family, and again he apologized, identifying
himself and his inner experiences of the recent months.
told who he was, and in so doing commented upon Wolgarftho's consensus
civilization. Wolgarftho flushed and said he was indeed
to be called a man. He was shown the beginnings of the new
society. "Let me return to my home, to send you materials
will be of great use to you," he insisted against Bentant's protests
that he had vowed never to depend on technology. But
indicated that he was so enriched by the primal family that he wanted
to return anyhow to find a wife, and to have a family of his
His third reason for returning: "I will try to reverse the
technological direction I advanced there."
--------*1 Klindemonth is about 2 earth-months; 1 Klindeyear, 60
Klindemonths, is about 10 earth-years.
**Klindelink is the equatorial continent where Bentant and Bentana had
is a large island 150 miles off, in the Bay of Klindelink, and 720
miles from the Circle of Eternity (or 850 miles by river), which is at
the center of Klindelink, near the Great Lake on a river between two
70. But the process was irreversible. When
he returned he found that the landscape of his home was an igneous
display of burnt wires and putrid arteries, cracked bones and consoles;
the streets were stained with transistors and flesh. His
empty-handed trip back to Klinde seemed impossible at first, both
emotionally and mechanically, for the means to propel the space vehicle
were not obviously found.
75. Bentant prepared Klindetol
for Wolgarftho's return by planting various fruits and vegetables
there, which were not native to the island but which gave delight, near
the Great Lake. Once a month, for 46 months, he made a trip
Klindetol. "If Wolgarftho is able to remedy the former world,
if he finds a wife, and if they return to our new home, they must be
welcomed and invited to retire from government to Klindetol, which I am
making ready for them," Bentant planned. He and Bentana felt
Wolgarftho and his wife could learn the new language and attitudes, and
perhaps their children might marry Heath and Willow. But in
46th month after Wolgarftho's departure, near the second anniversary of
the Emigration, Bentant's gardening on Klindetol led him to strike a
device buried from view, which exploded.
78. When Bentant
did not return at his customary time, Bentana dreamed frightening
dreams, and Heath set out for his father, whose pieces he found
scattered among the vegetables.
80. Bentana was without
consolation. For two months she fasted. Heath and
erected the monument in their father's memory, hewn out of obsidian.
Six months later, Wolgarftho returned. While Heath and Willow
were tending Klindetol, Wolgarftho met Bentana and told her why his
return was delayed, that their home was a cinder, and most sorrowfully
that he was returning unwed. Bentana told him about Bentant's
death. Wolgarftho cursed himself, saying, "May I suffer in
extreme for the change I have given humanity."
months later, Bentana and Wolgarftho married, despite the objections of
Heath and Willow. A feud arose which could be resolved only
the two pairs parting. The older couple sailed for Daflink,
they parented two boys and a girl, and ancestored the Daflink
nation. Heath and Willow became the parents of the nation of
I typed this verbatim from your notes.
THE BOOK OF THE PROPHECY
the chasm was
with vacuums yawn-
ing, such that hugged
each other's void.
its echoes strong
that ought of naught
myth the myth
for I have
"lurking among the happiness
inertial blackness chants
a lullaby of fear-frozen heart-knocks
scums float its foam
through tightened arteries
the cholesterol of commerce and heart
chambers, slowly drugging each cell
'holy happiness for me only.'"
for I have
the manna clouds cruise the sky from
knocking out the fame of crowds meshed
into a naked bony stricture
sky-white bone-narrowed manna hushing
for I have felt the
Fire is to smoking first when under
standing clears the focal point.
Burning bushes always lean. Wet bushes
never dry (do they?) unless nature under
scores her way as if a tree branch
broken under a grass blade could rear
itself to sing cantos in Rome.*
------------*lit., to harmonize contradictions in the Circle of
for I have
Why do adding machines figure us?
People forget they're people; machines
people the planet. Streams of tape and ink
gnaw at a mountain sitting on a stool.
If your scientific friends are more than
machines calculating, you
must then be greater than the total or
the items will be bankrupt.
Beware, then. Come, the doctors
let us audit our Glory, let us count
by department: the left
foot makes five counts but the right
was deficient in six from inventory;
minus one. The hand enjoys twenty-three
and an interest of five. The loins count
eighty-five and the Head resolves the
dispute: adding its two-thirty-three,
the total Glory is three hundred
What a revelation!
I wonder if Patmos** is still lived
upon. Our audit complete, I suggest
a voucher for the amount be placed with
good will into God's atomic-safe vault.
O sky-high the fortune!
--------**lit., Klindetol, where Wolgarftho landed.
Beware, unconscious we drip
of science but ring for order. Our lands
are fertilized, our crops grow well. We
make machines that make machines.
Profits are up, and stocks sell high.
We talk across a continent. The artist
thrives, and instruments for music,
healing, science, law, and justice
multiply. (FORGET WAR.) We grow, oh
GNP, we grow complex, but oh
we grow like cancers!
Our growth makes great things small.
We grow minor; we do not order.
Hit social science back to man!
sky! The sky! Danger in the
reflecting man's heat and intercourse.
Watch the sky flash and smash all breathing places.
Wait crouched until the moon hot and cold
hits and pounds its weight
and makes us know its will.
Doom flickers in the corners of the
at noon, and when eyes close out the sale.
Entropy! Entropy! No reservoirs, no safe
escapes its eeking, seeking, pawing, gnawing.
Distant doom or nearby disaster--
take your pick or sit it out in the cold.
the sun slouches in skyfallen time
waves break mop their nights away
rocks croak from mudforgotten slime
and i gulpdrown the sites i cannot prey
addition to associations this phrase may bring to mind, the original
text also involves the idea that the basis of all is a preconstructed
moonmirth mingles on bones decay
mirrow sears my memorys thirstyguess
comes laughinglighted dust my speech onceclay
andemptinesses on my soul make press
i cannot hear mycry nor can icare
and yet the sunandmoon the wavesandblame
the rocksandclay these are the words i wear
they are mywords Now i know the fame
of knowing lovers words demented lie
i is we fear and trembling cannot sigh
THE BOOK OF THE LIFE OF KLINDE
In 120.46, after studying history, music, mathematics, and medicine, he
read Heath's Observations of the Night, took an interest in astronomy,
which at that time had become full of superstition, and began a
systematic investigation of the sky, which led to his appointment to
establish a department of celestial study at the Academy of Reshonjun.
In 121.00, he received an anonymous letter which contained the
Prophesy, the reading of which recalled this passage in Heath's
Observations, which begins the work:
the Day of Marsum in the month of Krawg, in the 5th year of my parents'
Emigration, when I was in my 244th month, I saw a spectacle in the
midnight sky, where the moon was in the day at noon, which reminded me
of my father Bentant's calculations he had often discussed with
me. He believed that the sky had been mined after the escape
the Cinder Planet, though Wolgarftho denied any knowledge of this, and
promised to check it out on his return. The intended effect
the mining was to fragment and knock the moon out of its orbit, and
thus destroy this planet with its fugitives. My father
that an error in the launching of the mines was sufficient to assure us
safety. What I saw on the night I am reporting was, I think,
those mines exploding, as a swarm of meteors was in their vicinity and
easily could have set off their nuclear blasts.
the result of Klinde's investigation was this: on 123.000.20 at noon, a
remaining mine would strike a large meteor near the moon, the blast of
which would divide the moon, send its pieces to the planet, shock and
ruin its face and heart, and stop civilization and most life.
281. And a god said unto Klinde, "Get out and minister unto
"Lord," he answered, "who am I that I should raise my voice above this
noise? And what could I say that would not bring further
283. "The Universe is cracking and divides
mankind. Go, and make Awareness fall on my people, and
will go with you, for you are with Awareness anointed."
So Klinde went out to the streets and said: "Listen O People, listen
and Awareness will give you courage. For I have been in the
presence of the gods, and I have seen the structure of Doom."
Awareness came to the people when he spoke, and they listened to him
while he spoke, and they listened to him while streetlights lightened
their faces, even until it dawned upon the multitude.
Grokinus served him breakfast in the Capitol: "Your prophesy was like a
cloth cleaning ten year's dust; but now the office of dust, to hide the
rottenness of wood, has been abolished and the bureau waits ignition's
291. Klinde answered: "I spoke of doom, the
Disaster, and awareness of rotten wood is Salvation. Rotten
cheats justice, saying: 'In the end all is well.'
But we know the doom will come;
Morals' emanation is
Forestall the day of doom: we
all must face
together form and integrate a
bulwark against that time,
which, though it will be a
toy, proves the therapy of our play."
292. Grokinus said:
"Ah pretty little doom, Ah blessed redemption!
Let us choose the losing side so we may
293. Klinde answered him:
"Let us choose the losing side since we are lost.
Let us protest the winning side to find
what values are.
Let human intercourse be
frank, as in a fog or heavy snow men speak to strangers."
294. Grokinus responded:
"And let the stranger stab and
twist kindness like a knife
into our brains and dismember
our trust in man."
295. Then angry, Klinde answered:
"Not if doom is foretold and
faced. Be sober,
the state between sensual intoxication and sarcastic discommitment."
302. And as he spoke, police entered and charged him with
332. While Klinde was in jail waiting a trial, he sang:
Why am I reaching, pushing,
I am dry with rage and my joints are sore?
I cannot stop Disaster
for no one listens, but all shout
if I suggest not only computation
and its crude exactitude, but also
how to veer the Rock an angle
smaller than two feet which go through life
and thus make it unfeeling to the moon's orbit.
333. But the tune of his song did not match the words, and
soon the song gave spirit:
I am not caged or stocked.
I move and reach, and okay with space;
I percuss the wild time and swing on
light; I joke inertia.
You, ecstasy! I know because of difference,
as I know lies from truth and sin from wholesomeness:
not as black from white, but as
uncolored blood is red,
washed sand is blazing yellow,
a buried frog is green, and
in the dark all veins are blue.
334. Am I God? I will create calm stars of sight
with meaning in their motion--
lest their motion stop.
335. At his trial, Klinde made this defense:
The Sweetinventedpurpose sings
and makes Us sing
until we see the song
will perish if
we do. . .
684. I stream along the beer-bottled broken shore
and sound out lovers loving on the beach;
the spirits once of the spiked sea I wore
before this instant's eddy times its reach;
my nearness hears the strata's million years
(sliced waste where love man made and remade)
licked for twelve centuries by tears
fermenting in the No Deposit trade.
So what if taxes shine the love to be
imbibed? If I involved with time and waste,
would know that unformed strata gurgles me?
When earth drunk tears into old Sol,* outfaced,
a nova, or when heat is spread and passed--
Love's the speed of light, or will not last.
----------------*Lit., When this planet shaken from her orbit falls
crying like a drunk into Beltgon. . . .
695. I have a headache from it all,
(my wilted heart endures the ecstasy
Our love burst open in the night
and brought the day high,
The sun does scorch and dry
1793. When the Age of Wars began, Klinde made this psalm:
1794. I shall sing when my trained bones destroy my fibers;
I shall sing when my bloody brain switches to charcoal seasoning for
the air flush above the motion;
sing when my fleshy vocal cords twist like rails and cannot
1795. Then I shall sing without the burden of a voice, as a
train sings without a track and crashes;
bodiless, I shall sing to God in complete reverence.
1796. I shall sing as the sympathetic smashing of two
locomotives, echoing together down the tracks;
sing as tracks never stop;
sing in perpetual motion like the spheres in sounds too great for ears.
1797. But I shall hear myself sing in chorus with voices who
hear themselves as selves in chorus,
mystical as the trinity-entity,
as a kiss.
1798. And I shall enjoy my singing and shall
not stop when the sky falls or the race
dissolves in strontium 90; and I shall sing
my enjoying like a dumb bird
insensible to the meaning men give pain.
1799. And I shall sing in pain in joy, married
to song, and praise the song with singing pain.
(When unpained joy opens its trap,
the harpies and sirens scream
HYPOCRITE yet must ye be born again!
Did not you feel the pain? How could you forget?
Your contraction rhythm does not link with ours;
your timbre is like a bare track, hopeless as the unmoved spike
not hear the ringing;
loudness is not becoming,
but you must hear intense,
like the weight of a train.)
1800. And I shall sing perfectly but then
not lonely out-of-key;
Then I can choose the notes as the
Conductor of the spheres.
1801. And I shall travel in song;
My psalm will be sung like a train
of glory, and having been trained,
I shall sing
and sing as perfect as the song.
In 123.26, Thorn's ailment became extremely painful; he could no longer
use his hands, which once produced music more moving than Beltgon;
[dangling participle?] his attention stayed on the death of his mother,
brother and sister. Klinde, himself still shaken by the
was unable to comfort his son. Finally Thorn came to his
and pleaded for death, saying life offered no joys, no hope.
only had loved ones died, his talent withered, which once he hoped
would serve mankind, and the cancerous disease become torturous, but
physicians offered no remedies. Thorn's deterioration was now
bad that he was unable to do away with himself without assistance.
these were barbarous days, for mercy-killing was confused with
murder. Klinde did not suffer from such confusion in his own
mind. But he was loathe in the extreme to grant his son's
request, for Thorn alone survived among his offspring; and while Klinde
did not care about his own life, he feared such an act would discredit
his former work in the minds of the people. Nevertheless,
utmost reluctance and only after much agonizing petition from Thorn and
consultation with the best doctors of the time, Klinde could no longer
refuse his son.
An accident could not be planned, for Thorn's
wails were known to too many. Therefore, Klinde prepared a
statement describing reasons and means, for release after the
act. In this statement Thorn cooperated and testified as best
was then able. It was taped in secrecy; only intimate staff
of it. Yet somehow enemies discovered the plan, prevented its
execution, and before the people knew all the facts had tried,
sentenced, and punished Klinde with death.
3435. Will to
live returned to Thorn as he realized the depth of love his father had
for him, and as the Krothugs, which name Klinde's enemies took, tried
to destroy the new democracy.
3437. Thorn experienced a
spontaneous remission of his disease which gave him months enough to
vindicate his father's name and ideals, defeat politically the
Krothugs, and dedicate the Great Temple his father had begun in 123.10
and sign into law reforms Klinde had envisioned, one of which declared
the right of euthanasia and set up legal apparatus to pass on requests.
THE LETTER TO GROKINUS
you for responding so quickly to my inquiry about the state of affairs
in Nantsaga; and I am certainly pleased with the progress, and I am
grateful to you for your sacrificial efforts in evangelizing the city
most difficult in many ways, especially since it has for hundreds of
years* been the site of religious gatherings--or should I say,
theological gatherings? May I also thank you for the gift,
arrived today, fresh as I can obtain here in Martkafn. But
of all I am glad that
you mentioned the problem which is causing
you some difficulty in your efforts, especially since we have never
discussed the subject explicitly. I can see why it would be a
problem, for theology (as epitomized in your city) has today lost all
force and demand upon the common man as well as the specialist; indeed,
it is this divorce which has brought upon us the present
Therefore, the question you raise is not academic, but one vital to our
survival. I should think that no further evidence for our
contention would be needed than the present state of affairs; but, as
you say, so many who have lost the power of original thinking insist
that our contention is post hoc ergo propter hoc. They have
separated religion from their existence by placing it in a dimension
which they call "ultimate" (but) which is ignored because it does not
connect with life, despite their theories. Or they call it
"symbol picture" of reality, which science does not discuss.
proper understanding of religion, what religion is, would quickly
eliminate the objections of those professors who have compartmentalized
their minds. For religion is that activity (and theology the
study of that activity) which integrates all of man's
experience--scientific, rational, emotional, esthetic, pragmatic,
sensational, intuitional, extra-sensational, etc., into a meaningful
whole. Religion is concerned with man's models of galaxies
atoms, of human aspirations and threatening technologies. We
not live in two worlds, one of material, the other of meaning, for such
is a fragmented view, not a wholesome view. Religion shows
meaning in the work-a-day world and shows him the universe in human
terms, and himself in cosmic terms.
There are those who insist that science is supracultural, and that
science can give ontological information. These people either
know nothing of science and are ignorant of religion, or they are set
in their ways if they do not admit our view upon reflection.
may also misunderstand the limits of language and the nature of man as
a model-maker. After all, the only thing a scientist
to "fact" is the language in which he enunciates it. Science
as much based on value judgments as any human endeavor. They
forget that they are human beings (fragmented) when scientists engage
their instruments and spread graphite and chalk. They say: We
will have no values, only facts. But their facts rest upon
assumptions which in turn rest upon value systems. Some
scientists have said: We want the Truth, not value judgments.
even this statement reveals the value placed on truth; and indeed truth
requires value judgment to be revealed.
3. Scientists and
theologians claim that their conclusions cannot contradict because they
study different things. Does this not reveal the horrible
to which our modern world has become compartmentalized? What
needed is a whole view, one which governs man's every activity, which
constantly demands morality from him. Even if in specific
situations he cannot know how to apply the precept of love and
compassion. This, Grokinus, seems so self-evident to me, as
sure it does to you, that I cannot see how anyone with any sensitivity,
anyone concerned with "alienation," could deny the truth of what I have
said. But if this becomes a stumbling block in your efforts
persuade the Nantsagans, may I suggest that you not concern yourself
over-much with those in places of power and repute; rather concentrate
on the young, yes, the very young, those in prep schools, who at their
age are naturally inclined to seek a religious world-view.
is a long shot, but I think is better than wasting your time with those
whose brains have indeed gone to bits, whose lobes and nerves share
only a common skull: no more community is there. The
of the brain have even sealed doors at this age; no passage is possible.
I have finally been permitted to speak at the University of Martkafn,
but first the faculty must be given the opportunity to censor my speech
beforehand, and then to rebuttal afterward. After much
they at last agreed to make this arrangement public, which is only
fair! but this will show them to be fools. After this
I expect to go to Rbnarzgel, which is (you know) the most promising
city across the sea. I am hoping then I can visit you again,
confirm the progress you will be making.
11. One more word
about compartmentalization: there are those who say, and in argument
with us admit, that science rests on values, but yet deny the same
degree of verifiability in religion as there is in science.
do not see that science is no more intrinsically supracultural than
religion. They have forgotten the foundations of this world
our parents, who escaped the doom of technology we now seem to be
insisting upon ourselves. The language of science and the
language of religion both rest on myth; and the propositions can be
tested by human experience. It is a mere historical accident
there is more religious dispute than scientific; it would be easy to
imagine a world where people agreed on religion but differed on
science. (I use these terms in a vague, vulgar
let me give you an example where science contributes to our religious
understandings of existence: Psychology, sociology, biology describe
and proclaim the reality of symbiosis. When we see the
state of humanity, we must deduce that some other factor must be the
multiplicity of possibility for error increasing with each day of
modern life, while the chances for wholesomeness and love
dwindle. Man is by nature symbiotic, not parasitic, or even
commensalistic; he exists to love. But today he is involved
the labyrinth of special languages and mechanical, electronic, and a to
mic [sic] bureaucracies, too involved to have compassion, to love, to
be human. We see the same kind of thing happening in the sky:
universe is dying because greater numbers of smaller concerns--I should
say, collections of matter or of heat energy--are increasing the
entropy. Let us work, then, to forestall this irreversible
process; let us build reservoirs of art, let us exercise morality by
reuniting in a common concern for our brothers (for this is how we find
ourselves). In the end, we will have failed; but we can
individual salvation in Eternity-of-the-Present, by losing ourselves in
efforts and in others.
25. I cannot send you the books you
request now; the government confiscated those by our martyred
astronomer, and a mob seized and burned the others. I think
will be a long time before we can publish anything again except by
speeches, lectures, sermons, and our deeds. It will be a year
yet, I think, before we have either the money or the sponsor necessary
to use the immediate means of communication. Well, we must
to be misunderstood.
26. Give my best to your wife, who
has suffered with you on my account, and to your fiery young sons, who
keep their uncle encouraged.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
27. Now, remember, I add, it does
not matter if something is true if it is trivial. But truth
not trivial. These modern-day forgetters, who dissociate
from emotion, have left most studies only with facts; they have
disqualified the truths. Truth belongs to man, indeed (for it
does not exist outside his affirmation), not to science; for to know is
look for [...] and [sic] for problems in the text.
THE LETTER TO THUTOMNON
1. Dear Thutomnon:
deeply distressed by the message I hold in my hand from you.
distressed because I considered you a person who would not be drawn
into an argument over questions which have no answer. I
you above even attempting answers--much less did I judge that you would
take sides. Yes, the cause is hurt, as you fear, for you have
introduced not only unhealthy dissension (there are healthy
dissensions) but you have been publicized as a leader of a group which
is concerned with this foolish metaphysical problem, which arises out
of minds too academic and too afraid to face the real questions of
2. I am very glad you wrote, for never
let there be anything between us which causes the loss of
integrity. I will instruct you with the instruction which
not answer your present questions but which will set you aright once
more, I hope. Of course I am not insisting that my views must
your views--far from it! For until you experience a direct
revelation of these matters, you will live in a shallow, a shell of
words, rather than in full possession of a fortress armed with the
mighty weapons of love, compassion, and understanding. But
my words may help prepare you for a revelation, or may cause you to
recognize the ultimacy of what is said, I am writing you now.
please remember to guard against accepting what I say uncritically;
find fault, and write me again; for I hope I am not beyond learning and
2. First of all, I want to make it exceedingly
clear that there is no ontological difference between subject and
object, and that all "objects" have wills. Now it is
(for even our first parents tried and failed in their artifice of
language) to quit logical and grammatic subjects and predicates
(objects). It is also true that we do in fact act as if it
possible to distinguish subjects from objects (although the State seems
to be replacing all subjects with herself and reducing every person to
a thing or object). But ontologically a table is as much a
as you or I. Though the table (unlike ourselves and many
animals) is not rational, nevertheless it has a will, like
Like us, it has freedom to act. A table is more predictable
a human, not because it is an object and a human is a subject, but
because the will of the table is more consistent. Thus,
invariably, if a table is lifted and then the lifting supports are
removed, the table will fall. Of course, scientists tell us
it is possible that the table will rise instead of fall; but this is
extremely unlikely. We can make predictions about people, but
since the human has a more complicated will, we are more likely to be
mistaken. (Of course it is wrong to speak of the will as a
like an arm, a nerve, or the brain.) Now you may think I am
the verge of answering your question about determinism, despite
myself. I am not, except to say that man is both determined
free and neither determined nor free. The question does not
to anything. I say this not to confuse you but to indicate
difficult it is to put the revelation (which is beyond any
consideration of subject and object) into words. You must
experience it. The contradictions which arise logically or
grammatically will disappear when you understand. The
itself will appear meaningless to you. Oh, that you soon will
have this experience!
4. But as I was saying, in these
words which are my means at present to communicate with you, tables
have wills. Many will think you are joking if you make this
assertion; the remainder will think you unsophisticated or
But I declare that tables and men have wills in exactly the same
sense. This is not so strange as it appears, for while the
physicists have stripped the table of its will (by installing tales of
gravity or curved space), the psychologists have explained away the
choices and decisions and actions of men as the necessary consequences
of antecedents. Note how both the table and the man are
considered objects. Surely if one is to choose an extreme, it
better to call everything Subject than everything Object. But
I say, there is in reality no difference between the two.
Similarly there is no ontological reason for distinguishing person from
person, or person from environment. It is a strange notion
man is an isolated individual, for he depends on his neighbors and
state, his friends and even his enemies (if he believes in them) for
his "identity." Merely to survive, he depends on
in his gut, other humans for his food (not to mention the foods
themselves), shelter, protection, pleasure, livelihood--for his
existence: how can it be said that he is independent of them?
they part of him, the stomach bacteria, the potatoes he eats, the
growers (they are their works), or are they separate? Is it
realistic to talk about fields of existence than individuals?
And what about this individual, is there a part of him that remains
always constant, never changing? Certainly not, for can X
identical with X when the relationships (or fields) into which the
person (and his X) moves? But this is not quite properly
for without the fields there could be no person. Of course,
is a sense in which it is true that I am I and you are you, and we will
not become confused. And yet part of me is becoming you as
read these words.
Now what deludes us into thinking we are
separate beings? The language?!? Self-consciousness
thus suffering is produced by inhibitions, and inhibitions are
resistances to desires. When our actions are in perfect
with our desires (when there are no inhibitions). . . . Of course it is
as possible to achieve a state of no desires as it is to reach a state
where all desires are realized. And in both cases there is no
self-consciousness. However, philosophically, it is better to
that the cause of separateness is inhibition, because the situation of
no desires is simply a special case of the larger and more general
context of no inhibitions. For example, you, Thutomnon, may
desire sexual encounters. If you restrain your desires, you
become warped as you feel more and more isolated and
If, on the other hand, you express your desires with the one you love,
you lose consciousness of selfhood and become an organism functioning
with maximum efficiency, since you are so involved in the act that you
become the act, and indeed you merge with the other. I should
think that fulfillment of desires is better, more human, than trying to
reach a state of no desires. But these states are
identical. Which path to be pursued is for each person to
Why am I so concerned about these matters? The answer is that
are headed toward the same doom as betook the Cinder Planet, and this
doom can be postponed only by measures I have been
This doom comes about by men treating men as machines; treating
machines as men; combining men and machines in contraptions or with
devices which serve, at present, medical means, but in the future,
possibly, political ends. Now, have I not contradicted
myself? For I have condemned cybernation because it
but I have also said that there is in reality no difference in kind
between men and machines; that is, they both have will. No, I
have not contradicted myself, because my reason for speaking against
this mad rush toward mechanical
efficiency is not that it places
machine and man on the same level, but rather that both are treated as
objects where they ought both to be considered subjects.
What kind of action is it that respects men as subjects rather than
treating them as objects (here I use the normal waking state's
subject-object consciousness)? It is an action that arises
suffering. One becomes an individual, a subject, by his
experience with suffering; and if he assumes others have suffered, then
he treats others as subjects. Independent objects do not
nature (for nature is one); they are merely the contents of normal
apprehension. But when one treats one as a subject, one
what one beholds; else how can the magic of the original religious
feast of Bentant be explained?
12. But from this
explanation two problems arise. If tables are subjects, then
tables can suffer? Most certainly. For when they
broken, so is their integrity as tables. To this it may be
that the source of their integrity is the human mind, i.e., we impute
integrity to the table. If legs and a top have never been
into a table then in what way is the unrealized table
In the same way fragmented man suffers. Or it may be said
the table is an invention of the human mind, and thus there is no
ontological reason for joining the legs and the top into a table; and
dissembling the table into its components is no violation of an
ontological structure. But I claim that the contrary is true
since our decision of what is ontological is our decision, a human
projection of what is real. I believe it is better to regard
tables as integrated than unattached legs and tops. Similarly
must integrate himself if he is to have integrity, attain
wholesomeness, experience Eternity. Thus we see that the
problem arising from the decision that tables can suffer, namely that
the source of the integrity is human, is admitted but not considered an
13. A second and more important problem is
this: Can one have integrity without suffering? Can one
himself with another without suffering? Is suffering
for wholeness? Can one lose consciousness of selfhood without
first having felt isolated? The answer is No to all of these
questions. Only that man who never had inhibitions is the man
integrity without suffering, identity without feeling estranged,
wholeness without disintegration, unconsciousness of self without
having the delusion of isolation. And that man does not, nor
has, existed. If so not, that man would have been an
object. But it is not that man's integrity, selflessness,
wholeness we are striving after? Is it the things for which
would admire him the things for which we would also call him an
object? In other words, are we actually striving to lose our
subjectivity and become objects? This question can be
adequately only by experiencing that state of consciousness to which I
referred in the beginning of my letter; it is that state in which there
is no distinction sensed between subject and object; these categories
14. Why can there not be a man who has not
suffered? Those who tried to alleviate suffering entirely and
(as on the Cinder Planet) were altered so as to feel no pain and to
ease all memory and possibility of suffering, were most deluded into
thinking they were objects. But you see doom came to them
nonetheless. Being objects was their doom.
But let me
explain the paradoxical nature of suffering by analogy. One
analog is pain. Now it is redundant or tautological
whether you are a grammarian or logician) to say that pain is very
unpleasant. However, we creatures of learning depend upon the
announcements of pain that danger is near. Were it not for
we would be unaware of the consequence of being near fire,
Pain is a trait of survival value to the higher animals. This
unpleasant thing, pain, is vital to us for our survival. We
not be creatures of intelligence if we did not have the promulgations
of pain, the edicts of hurt.
16. Just so with
suffering. Because we suffer we are aware (as we otherwise
not be) of our selfhood, and of the approaching doom. And yet
because of it we are able to make merry if we are excellent, if we earn
by suffering the right to joy. And on the social plane,
would be impossible without suffering or would be no more than a system
viable only when competing powers held each other in relative check.
Again, time would be no more without doom, for it is entropy which
gives time direction. Of course, the cessation of time,
is a goal. But salvation is meaningless without the anxiety
time from which to be saved.
18. Nor could there be morals
without futility, just as charity would be impossible without poverty,
forgiveness without transgression, freedom without discipline, or
knowledge without the loss of innocence, or gaining oneself without
. . . . . . . . . . . .
27. I did not mean to be so
long-winded, Thutomnon. I hope this will be of some help to
and do let me know how you receive this. Do not take offense
it, but use it to your own benefit if possible.
THE LETTER TO OMALKA
1. My Friends of Omalka:
have heard how you, who so recently (when last I visited you) performed
so many services to me and encouraged our whole band upon this planet,
have come in contact with those who pervert the doctrine which I
delivered unto you--nay, those who destroy its essential social
message. I do not know to what extent this report may be
but I sensed when I was with you that you were (despite your outward
glow) somewhat shocked when I presented you with the Teaching of Doom;
and I feared, notwithstanding your urgings that you understood me, that
you did not grasp the importance of this teaching, that you in fact
wished I had not mentioned it since it is not popular among those in
charge of directing the future. Well, because this teaching
integral to our vision and is moreover established by
all that we have seen in this life, I am writing you to insist that
either you correct my informer or you correct yourselves. Of
course it is possible that I am wrong, but with all your politicking
and unhappiness you have not seriously considered this. Do!
As you will remember, I asked each of you to search his inmost being
for assurances of beneficent tomorrows; and with few and unnotable
exceptions, you could find no such assurances, or at least you supposed
that they were the product of hope rather than a revelation of what is
to come. Thereupon I presented to you a genuine account of
present view of how this cosmos will end, an account with many
variables but with one settlement. This one end, Doom, may
about by crashing moon fragments, or a flare-up in Beltgon, or by its
chilling beyond what protection our new technologies can afford
us. If we view the air-regions themselves and suppose that
somehow our existence on this world will be sustained until the sky
falls, then we see in the sky Doom written in every motion of every
celestial thing. For motion, which is the evidence of life,
becoming both more random and smaller, and this direction is
unalterable and unavoidable.* Is man to shake his fist at
fate? At a death of mediocrity? When all atoms have
identical importance? When no place has localized energy,**
random activity everywhere prevails without logic or purpose?
man to shake his fist for this? He does whenever he creates
meaning for himself and his society.
law of thermodynamics, the law of increasing entropy, provides that
although there is no great loss or gain of thermal energy in the
universe, energy, because of the increasing randomness in molecular
motion, is nevertheless always becoming less and less available.
**Thermal, but also the energy discussed in William Blake's Marriage of
Heaven and Hell and Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.
Some of you who are sophisticated, so you think, are thinking now, I
know, that man can escape the fate of the stars, or at least the Day of
Doom is so distant we can afford to forget about it since (avoiding the
Disaster) it will affect neither ourselves nor our offspring for
generations. Well, let me tell you, Sophisticates, that the
universe is revealed to man only in human terms. Those of you
pretend otherwise are the most foolish of scientists, philosophers, and
theologians. For man
cannot be sure he is not missing a
sense (imagine our race devoid of sight; how different our "view" of
things would be!) which would change his model of reality. Ah
you say: I have admitted the finitude of knowledge; then how dare I
insist that Doom must come? Because we must act according to
knowledge we have, recognizing that it is limited, though wholesome
when integrated into our being. And this is why not only must
religious man see the universe in human terms, but also he must see
himself in cosmic patterns, himself as an individual while he is in the
state of Separateness, deluded into thinking he is an individual, which
is our ordinary and everyday mode of cognition and activity, and
himself as a part of an organic society, whose
fate is equally dismal.
Did I say dismal? In what sense is fate dismal? In
sense, that all of man's efforts and goals are ultimately vain unless
they fail. Doom can inspire the creation of
Yes, it is only out of futility (and that is assured) that meaning can
obtain. For what is an action if it is rewarded? A
prudent action, such as a child earning a piece of candy for doing what
he ought to have done anyway. It contains little moral worth
since there is no risk or reason to do otherwise. All human efforts,
divine as they can be, are doomed; and it is only by acting in that
knowledge that salvation can be achieved, yet not achieved--rather it
is realized. In acting to forestall the day of inevitable
man creates his essence, which can never be lost as long as man lives
in Eternity-of-the-Present. Eternity invading time is not a
metaphysical construction; it is a psychological reality. It
the loss of neurotic self-consciousness; it means sensing
The artist, for example, who loses himself in his creation, who is not
aware of his parameter, has exchanged the existential delusion of
aloneness for the higher consciousness of union with his creation--even
though his creation necessarily arises out of his own
He is not aware of the passing of time. The clocks' hands may
move throughout the planet, and the planet may race itself in orbit,
but Eternity has invaded the present. From this psychological
account, it can be seen that he is functioning with maximum efficiency
since he is not aware of anything he does. . . . He does not need to
be; he is not distracted. The audience of the artist, too,
experience Eternity on encountering his dance, painting, symphony, or
poem. Religion is most immediately concerned with Eternity as
product of love, for in love one loses oneself, finds meaning and
relationship, functions with maximum efficiency. The symbol
Eternity is sexual union since it ideally celebrates the thrill of
unselfishness, selflessness, of giving, of relating, of such high and
deep participation in the sensual that consciousness of self, of
isolation, is impossible as union is symbolically as well as sexually
5. I am sure that you, having experienced
Eternity, will keep the true interpretation of that encounter; and as
you seek to repeat it in various modes, degrees, into the work-a-day
world, remember that it is our creation of Eternity, despite the doom
of time (for time leads us to doom and is itself doomed). I
therefore need not repeat what you have understood but challenge you to
maintain your enthusiasm in promoting the cause, which though doomed is
the only salvation for this people.
6. We have scarcely
been out of the underground and yet I wonder if official toleration
will draw us down the path of perversion and silliness, to triviality
or disengagement with the distress which troubles this
believe we can forestall doom for many years, and we must do so if we
wish personal salvation. I confess I would not have written
in so scolding a manner were I not terribly concerned that you and your
importance if unchecked might not only damn others but yourselves also,
as well as the movement. Remember then the spirit of love,
is God of gods and holy of holies.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
10. Having looked this short
letter over, I am surprised that I assumed that simply restating the
truth would call you back to her. And yet I don't know what
to add except to urge you to try any conflicts you have with each
other; for I have full faith that the truth will in the short run
prevail and resettle your souls if you are honest and open in debate.
But beware of the ideas of those who think that sense information is
our only avenue to knowledge, that reason should preside over impulse,
that since reason is orderly the cosmos is also orderly and dependable,
which universe is perceived not in unique terms but in
event-classes. But most of all, beware of my arguments with
accept them not because they are mine. The frail human senses
be so deficient that we know nothing real, even with the most advanced
sense-amplifiers. Value the spontaneous response, the
communication. What is this electrochemical process of the
called reason we are so proud of? How limited is reason by
chemical make-up? Do we insist that the thinking process
drugs is less valid than the "normal" situation? There is no
order in the universe other than what we supply. There is
direction to disorder and even that is in the mind. When the
universe becomes all reasoned and ordered, man forgets to wonder at; he
thinks "Why?," is answered by how.
12. And let me tell you
in a word, for I am immediately busy here, that great success is about
to uplift the movement; so let us remain humble as we urge others to
gaze into the abyss unafraid.
THE LETTER TO RESHONJUN
1. Thank you for
your recent communication. I appreciate very deeply your
and persistent efforts to obtain my release, but it appears that I'll
remain imprisoned until my execution, now set two days hence; indeed,
when you read this my life may exist only in such trivial remains as
2. Twice before I have been nearly this close
to death, as you know; so I have quite thought through my "last
thoughts" and critically examined them from the perspective of those
subsequent moments of safety. I am now no more panicked by
threat of nonbeing than when in times of security; I have the abyss,
the void, honestly now, as I have not always when tempted by the hubris
of thinking I could do something eternally significant.
I will probably be a martyred hero after my death; but what is that to
me, a dead man? A hero is a fabled character said to have
existed. What is heroic is not me. Even if my death
produce a beneficial reaction, it will not be me who is remembered, but
rather an imposter who carries my name. Nevertheless, I am
than willing to die if the Day of Doom can be forestalled on account of
it. But this is hardly heroic since I have no choice in the
matter. My only choice was to maintain my integrity; and that
be maintained (because of the political circumstances) only by
4. It is not that I hate life and wish to
leave it (for I love my wife, children, friends and work), but nonbeing
threatens only like the sun threatens the dew, as long as one regards
his death as a separation from the world of the living. But,
course, one day the world of the living will vanish and being will
disintegrate completely. Illusion will destroy
the real which is nothing will remain. The random motion of
stagnant holocaust will write VOID throughout the universe and on every
effort of man. Eternity will vanish into scattered bits of
timelessness, discontinuous and related, independent and casually
connected, particular yet relative, concrete and unimaginable.
Then, Reshonjun, I know you would ask (if such talk as I have talked
did not intimidate you, and you must not let it, for it is all
hogwash): If this is the way things will be, and therefore the way they
are (both potentially and actually in the Awareness you goad me to),
why do we seek to forestall the Day rather than encourage it to
hasten? A humanity of trite answers are available.
are a few worthy answers, such as: awareness of Doom is possible but in
Doom there is no awareness; the average man must be saved through
parable and image; we forestall Doom because Void is Notvoid.
the answer I offer you in utter honesty and sincerity, yet in joke and
tease, is this:
Now, my son, I am writing this last letter for you in the
future as well as now; if you do not understand the answer now, reread
it day after day, month after month, until you do. Then don't
believe it. For the Answer is Noanswer, which is an Answer,
not no answer.
6. The same kind of problem arises in
considering the character of a moral act. Can a man be
or kind-hearted if he is crabby, hates people, and does good deeds only
to improve his public image and for tax advantages? If a man
from pleasure only, is his act to be praised morally? If he
great financial gifts to deserving people simply because he wants to
satisfy his curiosity about the reaction his contribution causes, can
his motives be exalted in an ethical view? Should we erect a
statue to one who performs only actions which give him easy pleasure,
who moves toward a reward? Or shall we make a monument to him
performs his duty unwillingly, who hates his neighbor but acts friendly
(and thus hypocritically)? In other words, is a man acting
morally who seeks pleasure or reward, or is the man who does the right
thing unwillingly, insincerely, with the wrong spirit, or by accident?
If we examine actions more closely, we see that all are performed for a
reward in some sense; if not for the tangible and usual kinds, then for
the sort we call "peace of mind," "harmony with oneself," or
"fulfilling one's social responsibilities." Clearly, rewards
only a superficial distinction between moral and nonmoral
What distinction can be made? Ultimately all is doomed,
void. There is no distinction. But below ultimate
where we normally function, distinctions intimating the ultimate can be
drawn. That act is moral which forestalls the Day of
For Doom is inevitable, and forestalling it gives no reward in the
superficial sense. A man has the reward of integrity only
calls it Void. And void is void only when it is
Love is that which makes Void Notvoid, and therefore void.
Noanswer is like water: transparent and plentiful; valuable but free;
that from which we come and dissolve into; as cold as ice and as
definite, and as formless and burning--invisible as steam; a necessity,
a poison-killer and drowner.
9. I should like to make an
appropriate transition from this rather dry subject to one which may
moisten your eyes; but as my time is shortening and I have much to say,
I must forego any pretense at literary art and come to the
The point I want to advise you on is Loneliness. I know you
experienced this emanation from Illusion, especially in the recent
months when the government and my activities have split up our family,
which only exacerbates the loneliness natural for your age.
Dying can be the most lonely thing a man can do. Yet dying is
unique! Dying is often and widely practiced. I have
precedents! With such a large company dare I assert that
lonely? Is it that man is a separate creature who compromises
individuality while alive to gain the advantages which social
cooperation provides; and then at death, seeing society has failed to
guarantee his life, he revokes the agreement and reaffirms his
loneliness? Certainly this is not the case. For man
become an individual only in social engagement, and he can be of social
benefit only if he is an individual.
11. You know very
well, my son, Reshonjun--do you remember that magnet you discovered one
day in my laboratory when you were still without brother or
sister? You wanted to know, after I had explained its polar
characteristics, what would happen if one pole were
You were intrigued to learn that poles, though opposite, are
interdependent; for if one pole is destroyed, so is the
Because polarity is one thing manifesting itself as
Similarly, human life is one thing, manifesting itself as individual
and society. You cannot alter one pole without altering the
Loneliness is the destruction of polarity. The individual
isolated but also--not really an individual, for his self-respect is
absent. The lonely one seeks companionship but fears he will
unable to be a companion himself.
13. What loneliness is
to the individual, conformity is to a society. Afraid to
recognize particular and individual and unique worths, the society of
our day seeks cooperation and agreement from its components, and tries
to set up mechanical and identical relationships with all its
parts. Instead of a growing organism or dynamic spiritual
concern, the society has become a machine destroying humanity, because
the polarities are very weak and being made weaker.
Since death destroys the polarities for me, death is lonely.
Since I am part of your society (and therefore part of you), my death
will bring loneliness to you.
15. But do not accept
loneliness. I will not. It is a specter,
refuse to have a lonely death. For as I am void, I am related
everything else in the Universe, which is also void. This
vainness is the source of cosmic joy.
My death should strengthen
rather than weaken you. How did you acquire individuality and
social consciousness in the first place? By practicing them,
as one learns to play the trumpet by playing the trumpet. My
death will be an exercise for you, to strengthen both your individual
nature and your social participation.
17. But I have been
talking on several levels and without warning jumped from one to
another. Ultimately, as I have said, there is no difference
between anything; and he who distinguishes creates Illusion and thus
reality, and destroys reality which is Illusion. Therefore,
not distinguish yourself from me, and I shall in the most important
sense not die.
18. I know you will have a difficult time
with this experience; you are neither young enough not to feel death's
separation, nor old enough to assume the detachment involvement should
19. Live in the present, which is Eternity.
Eternity is the integration of all your experiences reaching.
Eternity is the dynamics of unselfishness, of relatedness. It
unconscious power, order, beauty; it is the Void. Loneliness
selfishness, self-consciousness. Since the self is void,
loneliness is a delusion. When all experience is integrated
meaning, value, proportion, and wholeness, the result is
Some philosophers have stumbled across this truth, but they have been
unable to accept it when they question how value can be ultimately
justified or derived from the facts of human experience.
Well, then: Integrate your experience and you will be saved
loneliness. But it is anguishing to integrate. And
have achieved a sort of integration, integrity, you must do it over
again and again as your experience broadens; your salvation becomes
more and more complete and void.
21. I know this is
abstract, so let me give you basic prescriptions to trick integration,
and thus (by trick) void the void. Take care that these do
become escapes from reality, but rather helps to realize
I will suggest three tricks.
22. The first is especially
appropriate to your age. For you are probably sexually
self-conscious--and thus lonely--unless you communicate your
passions. So enjoy the pleasure of sensual
Inhibition is the cardinal sin against yourself and (consequently)
society. As I have told you before, it is not necessary that
are willing to promise life-long love to your partner, as long as no
deceit is involved. But since Eternity can manifest itself
when you give as well as take, lose as well as find, the act must never
become a status symbol nor an unhealthy rebellion against hypocritical
23. Second, you may draw upon the reservoirs
of organized energy called art to aid you in integrating your
experience. Art is Eternity made concrete. Often
under the severest delusion of aloneness and loneliness, it represents
the artist's reintegration with himself and his experience, his medium,
and his public. He participates with you, as encounter [sic]
work; and as he lost his self-consciousness in its creation, so you may
lose your loneliness in its apprehension.
24. Third, there
are marvelous drugs (which are illegal and difficult to obtain) which
so improve the normal chemical processes of the brain as to relax
learned modes of perception and release inhibition. One is
to sense the relatedness of everything, the relativity, and the
absolving of the self and all distinctions. How can there be
loneliness when there is no self?
25. Even on a lower
lever, the level of polarities (which is dizzily high for most people),
self and society are indistinguishable. Our language is full
class terms, the terminals of the polarities, ignoring the relatedness
and relativity of reality, which lies between the poles. Of
course, the paradigm polarity is Subject-Object. Eternity is
point into which subject and object merge, united, not-two.
Because people today are pointing to the extreme of Object by their
treatment of each other as well as the products of industry, they have
lost the subjective. Have I contradicted myself?
For I said
that strengthening one pole strengthened the other. How then
could pointing to Object not strengthen both poles? If there
paradox here, it is a fortunate accident to illustrate my description
of the limits of language. Perhaps it may be said that
to an extreme weakens rather than strengthens poles. It is
integration of the poles, the voidness of the struggles, that is the
goal. To summarize what I have said about class terms,
on this question: is the knower different from the known?
Or, to return to the topical aspect of this letter, is the end of the
criminal different from that of the saint? Paupers and
millionaires, disenfranchised and presidents, the ignorant and the
scholar, the rebel and the established, all face the same finality; all
are equal with you, to humiliate you if you are proud, to encourage you
if you are lacking in self-respect. All works, of hands or
spirit or institution, private or public, unknown or celebrated, unique
or mass-produced, of virtue or harm, subtle or violent, all will vanish
at death, which is only a synecdoche [sic] of doom, when the swirling
void of mediocrity levels all into indiscriminate equality.
from the possibility of ultimate achievement, and thus the obligation,
we can play in freedom, trick eternity, create Meaning-In-Spite, and
void the void.
All our ethics, politics, and religious
operations are hypocritical, relative, and constitute a
There is no absolute place from which we can start our philosophy, nor
any absolute goal to direct us. Yet we are thrown into
and that is absolving--we are given a starting place (false though it
may be), which is absolute in the inescapable sense: our time, culture,
mores, and family situation. If we are blank and void when we
enter this orbiting of Beltgon, it is not long before we are etched
with the thoughts and dreams, deeds and fears, of those who consider us
childish. If we revolt, we must fill up the etchings, and
fillings sometimes fall out, wear away, or clog the freedom we wish to
gain. If there is no revolt, no change, no movement of any
then the dull pattern comes to be thought the only and eternal pattern,
and it is endowed with sanctity and dogmatic tradition. Thus
come from the void, and are given void standards, which void the void;
because all contracts and distinctions are null and void, we must void
their void to behold the glory. And death, which denies my
of the void, praises my life; for without the end, an end, all thrusts
would be obscure.
THE DOCUMENTS OF SAFETY
1. Existential Logic
Thus far we have failed to find a nonpropositional logic. The
assumption begun with--that if there is a nonpropositional logic, it
must be concerned with values--has so far yielded no such
But perhaps this is because only conditional value has been
explored. A basis or ground for three-kat [sic] has not been
established. Nonpropositional logic may then be concerned
the source of value. It must be an existential logic since it
would have to provide meaning for man's otherwise meaningless
existence. When A justified B, which justified C, which
D. . . until we are exhausted in failure to find an ultimate
justification for anything--then we are approaching a logic which is
nonpropositional because it is a logic beyond the categories of truth
and falsehood. It is not even the logic of Being, but rather
Nonbeing. It is the logic of all experience, not of an
experience; for all experience is summed as zero or void, no
experience. This is the result when all experiences and all
events are integrated into meaning, value, proportion, and
wholeness. This is how ultimate values can be justified or
derived from the facts of experience.
1.81. But such a
logic is not easily discussed. Only imperfect models of this
voidness are possible in words, painting, music, attitudes, actions. .
. . The rough outlines of an eschatological view were once given us, in
the moon's crushing threat. While there has been a
of such astronomic action, yet will come the time that the civilization
of this planet and its creations and aspirations will go
Life in other parts of the universe is also doomed. If all
in destruction, it seems there can be no ultimate goal, nothing of
absolute worth, for any purpose is voided.
1.82. This does
not mean that man cannot have goals and purposes for his life, but it
does mean that he can have no absolute values. All values are
relative, and there is no basis for values other than the voidness
which overtakes all things.
1.83. Some have thought that
the subject himself is of unconditional worth. This may be
answered several ways. On a low level, it can be said that in
fact some subjects do not affirm (and rather they deny) their absolute
worth, through suicide or acceptance of authority outside
themselves. Or even if we accept the idea that the subject is
absolute value notwithstanding his destruction, we come to the previous
conclusion by realizing that the subject is void; again therefrom the
ground of value is void; the autonomous subject is so only based on
voidness. If he is autonomous, he is arbitrary.
there is little reason for accepting the distinction between subject
and object, which means that one is dependent on the other, and thus
they are both of either conditional or unconditional worth.
We are now moving in the area of nonpropositional logic, and although
statements appear to have truth asserted of them, this is only because
of the difficulty of talking otherwise; and if paradoxes appear, we can
take comfort in knowing propositional science is often paradoxical,
too. The reason for all paradoxes is the void, i.e.,
1.85. If there is anything absolute, it is a
fact; that is, a fact rests on no value judgment and is relative to
nothing. Not only is a fact absolute and unconditional, it is
1.86. Are there such facts? The fact
X is distinguished from nonX. If it were not for nonX, X
not be, for no distinction could be made. X, therefore,
logically on nonX. And if X depends on nonX for its very
then X is not independent of nonX. X is not self-sufficient,
thing-in-itself. If there is an interdependence, how can X be
ontologically separate or distinct?
1.87. It cannot.
X, a fact, is not a fact. Any distinction is artificial and
contradictory, void. A distinction is not a fact, but is made
only because of some valuation; for some purpose it is considered
worthy to create a distinction. But no unconditional purpose
be found. Facts are based on relative value judgments.
Facts are not facts: they are not absolute, they are not objective
since they depend upon our perception, either "man-like and rational"
or because of structures built-in since the beginning of
evolution. What we see is determined by our
is possible that the sense of sight, or mathematics, or farewell, might
have been unknown to us. What we are used to is sensing
fragmentarily, and thus we do not see the whole, which is
And our perceptions are usually of the subject-object syndrome, whereas
the void contains no such distinction, or rather it should be said that
such a distinction is void.
1.89. If facts are not facts,
are they--since they depend on values--values? They are
as we value the fragmentary mode of perception. But one may
a polar model of facts and values: facts and values are merely opposite
ends of the same thing, just as truth and falsehood, and subject and
object, are poles of the same things. But in the void, even
poles are destroyed, where chaos and order are identical because there
1.90. When I saw the voidness, I overcame all
sufferings and ills. When I learned that the whole is void,
all my efforts were vain, then I was rid of my clinging, grasping; I
became more than harmonious with the universe: there was no distinction
between the universe and myself. I am not striving after some
absolute Purpose or Great Achievement; I am fearless, for there is
nothing to fear. By losing my life, I gain it. By
it of "cosmic significance," a human purpose is possible. By
seeing that human purpose in the cosmos, the unity of voidness is
possible, the integrity of the whole. For when the void is
realized, with its futility, emptiness, and meaninglessness, then the
void itself is voided. Voidness can thus include values (and
facts), but not vice versa. Then values arise from voidness,
they never lose their voidness, for they are all relative to nothing,
to the absolute void; conditional values are possible only when there
is an absolute to which they are related; otherwise the regress is
infinite. But there is no absolute, so conditionals become
unconditional, though thoroughly void. Only when it is
that life is ultimately purposeless can purpose arise. In
eschatological terms, that purpose is expressed as forestalling the day
1.91. Only if actions are futile can morality
exist. For an action which seeks a goal is conditional and
relative, a product of the reward-punishment syndrome. Only
understanding Relativity of values, which is their voidness, can the
Absolute obtain. Voidness is the Absolute, reached through
Relativity. This is equivalent to saying that nothing has
absolute value, all values are void, which is thus Absolute void, which
is thus absolute value. A man has the reward of integrity
he calls that integrity Void. And void is only void--when it
notvoid. The realm of relativity is established by
and when distinctions (such as between truth and falsehood) cease, only
the void, the absolute remains. The absolute is the basis of
value since the absolute is void, and there is no basis for values (and
thus none for facts). Models are possible, existential or
nonpropositional logic is possible, because of values, without which we
would not be able to know that voidness was because we would not be
thrown into the perplexity of seeking a basis for value where there is
none. When this is realized, perplexity is laughter.
2. Rebellions of Krothugmin
( 1) ( p p) (p p)
( 2) [po p) 0]=[(po p) T]
( 3) 0 T
( 4) (T-p=T) (T=0)
( 5) ( p=0) (p=0)
( 6) [( pvT) (po T)] (pvT)o(0)
( 7) (p q) [(p q) o0]
( 8) (p q) (p qo q)
( 9) (p 0) ( p 0)
(10) (0vT)o (0oT) (0oT)
6. Shit and Piss
words blaspheme. Anything they say to sorrowscape [sic] must
the point, distract, and (while making man feel free) put bars around
him in clipping forms, as thoughts and syllables (which sound like
praise) delude, elude, the Void. The most a word can do is
the Mighty hollow, but that is little and absurd, a plumbline
—to mark a star.
The Doom which waits to
level all blasphemers passed is present in the void; those who sense it
find futurity in flung eschatology, or Eternity, in quality; in
futility [sic] nirvana's smoldering grace of wordless joy, or the
absolving absolute, silent
words like Doom are measurelessly more humane than quantitative
progress; blaspheming science tries to measure tight the voidness,
model truth, control all means, denounce all meanings except its
method, instruments, machines, consoles and praised
words are useful in the void, but art which can make the void appear,
and time lose power, decays concern for anything but paint, or tones,
or metal's states and dance; the artist shouts, creates anathema
clinging politician promises actions aimed against the void; and what
he does is fragment loyalties and minds and makes the state machines
napalm news like
loosed in business, churches, schools, dissect Integrity, the
What-Is-Whole, and polar words divide the poles, murder
Psychological examinations establish corporation heads and tails
And what is more is nothing less than what
6.9 BLAST O-FF
9. Aphorisms for Kindergarten
1. If you would know the truth, void all your opinions.
2. This can most easily be accomplished by entertaining all
3. If you would know the truth, you would know it does not apply.
If you would love safety, live dangerously; think on this each time you
die if you would master it. For dying breeds purpose like
5. To find purpose don't look within yourself or without;
6. Does one shit better on a handsome stool?
7. Bind yourself to understand freedom; and free yourself to
stand under Eternity.
8. Accept no man's word but your own.
9. More business is accomplished in play than in earnest;
there are no earnings, just presentiments.
10. Fools look within for wisdom, and the unsure peer without for
confirmations. The wise man has trampled out his eyes.
To see without eyes is to be a remote construction. To be a
remote construction is to see without eyes. Either to see
eyes (thus being a remote construction) or to be a remote construction
(thus seeing without eyes) is either to be a remote construction (thus
seeing without eyes) or to see without eyes (thus being a remote
construction). To be without eyes is to see a remote
construction. To see a remote construction is to be without
eyes. Either to be without eyes (thus seeing a remote
construction) or to see a remote construction (thus being without eyes)
is either to be without eyes (thus seeing a remote construction) or to
see a remote construction (thus being without eyes). Both
without eyes (thus being a remote construction) and being without eyes
(thus seeing a remote construction) is a waste of time. Q.E.D.
12. There are no objects, speaking from an objective point of view.
13. Eternity lives when Inhibitions die.
Not when full
How without syntax is man agape
staring into skies and making Far
a Nearness! How can Word or beast escape
the staring rawness of the brain ajar
between the Word and beast, both made of star?
What a case for grammar: sexless rape
cold frozen impotent sciences mar
the con-stall-ations that no longer are.
Man's machine may play for all men are--
They are no more they are as ape on throne
they are they? Syntax plays golf My par
through tricky doors is ever now unknown
I is they and I with all men are
dumb and syntax strangled all alone
THE BOOK OF THE LIFE OF KLINDE
At a faculty conference of the Academy of Reshonjun, Klinde read a
paper on the Mitochondrian of Macromeaning. From the
period, this fragment has been preserved:
Marshun the biologist: I'm not sure I like your appropriation of
certain biological terms to extrabiological matters. You used
nontechnical term which can relate to a biological function, but I'm
not sure you used it with biology in mind. What do you mean
Smarf the philosopher interrupted: Excuse me for passing
your scatological humor, but how can it mean anything at all when he's
talking about the Whole since there is nothing contrasting to give it
sense? It so used becomes a trivial term, void (if I may use
word more ordinarily) of meaning.
Rukloin the mathematician: If
I may try to answer for Klinde, and thus test my own understanding of
his thesis, the Void is an equation or problem whose solution is zero,
nothing at all.
Markainton the sociologist: Rather it is finding there is no problem.
President of the Academy gave signal that he would like to comment, but
though he moved his mouth, no intelligence was given.
laughed and said: And all the rest of you, by not even moving your
mouths may think you are expressing the Void. In my opinion,
those who have spoken and those silent have given suitable answers or
explanations, but still the question, What is the Whole (or Void, as I
have called it)? is still asked.
Klinde danced and sang, Is this not wondrous? and boring?
The faculty, 183 to 79, adopted the resolution that "Though it is true
that 'Everything is trivial,' the Void does not say it. The
makes the proposition 'Everything is Trivial' itself trivial."
A minority opinion was recorded: "All statements about the Void are
void and senseless, unintelligible and self-contradictory INCLUDING
THIS ONE except that the shouted phrase gives consistency and meaning
in inconsistency and senselessness and inconsistency in consistency to
2412. Another minority wished it recorded that it did not
vote for any resolution.
2413. After the meeting the President to Klinde spoke: What a
splendid sport of circumstance! a great game!
2531 Thou Void I speak you as a person
(yet you flow in all existence)
for human is most I can know
though I know you greater.
2532 I have felt your wrath, but I did not shrink;
as a fleck in the eye screams enormous,
as a burned finger is larger than life,
so I all wrought by your displeasure,
felt the enormous weight of my sin;
but washed hot [sic] before, I did not crimp,
for soiled I was still till ground sank.
2533 You would not forgive nor pardon;
yet from you came the grace,
not growing from my toil,
for grace was just its turn to dance.
2534 Not by presumptive works am I a partner in salvation;
only when I play, accepting condemnation as my due,
unfrivolous and with highest stakes,
under the umpire most severe,
yet without a final goal, willing to be a fart;
then grace, not removingwrath, [sic] returns it.
O Void when I repented, then came grace.
I was not penitent seeking grace.
I did not purpose grace in voiding my will.
O Void you have voided me, for grace is sometimes earned
when not effort's object.
Your wrath remains, returned, dancing,
and I seek now no escape.
Those who suffer earn their joy*
but only to it who denies it has his right.
-------*distinguished from happiness, which children may have without
THE BOOK OF THE GODS
1 Let the gods call out their names in
before we men tell their lineage, work, and consortings.
The sixty gods fight in five tribes and so must yell.
The greatest god will not shout his name;
he is nameless, void, nogod-at-all, the whole,
and all gods are his kin and killers.
His number is ought, [sic] and counts for nothing, the Unknown.
2 Now gods the Tribe called Markon
list yourselves for those newly presenting themselves before
your aweful [sic] power,
might, purpose, and terrible skill.
3 I am Marlin. I play with
pitches, timbre, and strength.
The instrument my game
produces is in flight fast to souls for souls
belong to all.
4 I am Marlon. My words please
even when they fright,
for I make messages of terror respectable.
Rhythm, rime, [sic] accent, pace, images, sounds--
5 I am Marlahn. In joy or
sorrow, freedom or pain,
I move joints, elevating body motion
to form and meaning, in time, space, and force.
Language and Definition
12. Indiscrete Definitions
0. Undefined: CHANGE.
1. What is an EVENT? An event is change or a set of
2. What is ARBITRATION? The means, itself an event,
used to distinguish one event from another.
What is EXPERIENCE? That class of events resulting from
arbitration (such as sensation, memory, imagination, and feedback) and
the arbitrations themselves. There are three dimensions of
experience for humans, below set down according to degree of
0) the dimension of the VOID, in which there is
no arbitration relative to it; no abstraction, no discrete or distinct
content of consciousness; the union (or annihilation) of subject and
INTEGRITY: integration of one's experience.
ETERNITY: integration of all events.
raw and immediate experience, of minimal abstraction,
arbitration. TRUTH and FALSITY do not apply in any
sense because one dimension cannot comprehend propositions, as one
dimension of space cannot contain a sphere. To call an
(such as seeing Beltgon's flares decline in summing the day's beauty)
true [sic] in any propositional sense is a confusion of dimensions and
hence linguistic categories. Of course language patterns and
expectations influence the modes of perception (arbitration), and some
nonpropositional utterances may be one-dimensional experiences, as
"Shut the door please," "I vow. . .," a poem, an exit sign, the hiway
line divider, a graw's mow, [sic] and the heart's beat.
meta-experience, experience mediated by language in propositions which
are accidentally true or false (logically though perhaps not casually
an accident). These utterances use language not to create an
immediate experience but to refer to another experience. "I
Beltgon extinguished" is an example of linguistic
event is reported; this report can be either true or false logically.
meta-meta-experience (meta-linguistic abstraction) discusses,
represents, and refers to language. In three dimensions truth
becomes logically necessary, as in this statement: "All husbands have
4. What is CONSCIOUSNESS? One event experiencing
5. What is a SUBJECT? A consciousness taken as a
frame of reference.
6. What is an OBJECT? An experience referred to by
7. What is TRUTH? A conformity of an experience to
a rule of a subject. There are two senses of truth.
nonpropositional conformity, as genuine, faithful, constant, reliable,
real, loyal, congruent, accurate, legitimate, fit, etc.
propositional conformity, the conformity to rule of utterances of at
least two dimensions. There are three degrees:
observational (logically accidental). Rule: The proposition
satisfy those expectations arising from its use.
(theoretical). Rule: The proposition must meet
a. dependable explanation of observable phenomena
b. integration with other propositions within the model or
c. ease and success in application of the model (pragmatic,
predictive, therapeutic power).
definitional (necessary). Rule: The laws of
apply to stipulative definitions, and those of custom to descriptive
8. What is KNOWLEDGE? The means, itself
knowledge, of distinguishing one experience from another
There are two senses of knowledge:
1) nonpropositional, as habits, skills, and inexpressible
2) propositional, as discursive information--that-events.
9. What is ENERGY? The delight in Eternity, the
pleasure of change.
10. What is ART? The reservoir of energy.
11. What is ENTROPY? The situation in which energy
becomes less and less available.
What is MYTH? The reservoir of knowledge. It is an
which can be experienced in three dimensions, and in each of the
dimensions. This is not like geometry. A line is
two-dimensional and cannot be contemplated in terms of one dimension;
nor is it a three-dimensional object. The myth, however, is a
one-dimensional object, a two-dimensional object, and a
three-dimensional object. A sphere is merely
What is RELIGION? That activity which reaches towards
experiencing the integration of all events. As such, it
the question of absolute worth.
14. What is the
VOID? It is the answer to the religious question of absolute
worth, the nature of salvation. Its other names include Doom
(eschatology), Null (axiology), Death (biology), Maximum Entropy
(thermodynamics), Disaster (time), Contradiction (logic), Nogod
(religion), Relativity (standards), Contingency (existence), Defeat,
Meaninglessness-in-the-context-of-meaning, Irrelevance, Triviality,
Futility, Discreteness, Whole, Wholesomeness, Play, Holiness, Sun,
Unknown, and Unspeakable.
13. The Olden Complaint
the universe had a purpose (for man) it would not be man's purpose; it
could have a purpose for man, but it could not be the purpose of
man. If the universe had a purpose, it would throw man in
horrible anxiety trying to fulfill it, or cause him to rebel against
it, which rebellion is no escape. Is this not prefigured and
answered in the olden complaint?--"How can we who hail from another
planet feel at one with creatures of this world? Species
to our ancestors are our common feed, compose a pleasant pasture, and
companion us as pets. Their evolution is not ours, for indeed
when we came we battled to gain a place in the hostile lands held by
14. The Physics of The Void
29. Suppose two circumstances commonly held impossible:
1) that perception without
change is possible, and
2) that an observer can accelerate from relative rest to the speed of
light. (Since the physics of cc is still theoretical, I postpone
discussion of it for some pages, though it will demand that what
follows here immediately be reconsidered.)
32. Now the observer, on achieving this speed, would cease to
note the passage of time, according to the expression:
t is the original rate of time
v is the velocity of the observer,
c is the speed of light, and
a is the number of carmons [sic] in the world,
( indicates that the base x is to be raised by x
(x-1) number of exponential steps;
because he would be circuiting the universe, which to boundless [sic]
is finite, would [sic] perceive as simultaneous events we would say
were distinct. For the spacetime interval between any two
on a light beam is zero; from the Impossible Observer's point of view,
there is only one point, not only to the "beam," but also to the
universe itself. He perceives the universe not in a temporal
cross-section as we do, but as a whole, as one, in Eternity.
And--not only would he perceive the whole universe, he would also be
33. (But as concerns Eternity, it is noted that
all wholes qua wholes are identical. Thus our words and
fragment experiences and reality not because they split the whole but
because they combine discrete events. For the whole of all
wholes, the void, is unreal.)
37. But I, caught in a
position, frame and culture making radical distinction between space
and time, seeing the Void in a peculiar cross-section, a particular
projection, can nevertheless understand the Void by analogy, can
understand what it is to perceive as simultaneous--or rather as
eternal--events which are discrete in time: my pencil, my house, my
wife, my gods. For my pencil is whirring energies,
and mostly empty; but because of the electrons' fast action, it feels
hard, not empty. So gross am I that what I know I do not
From the carmonic [sic] perspective, there are no atoms; from the
atomic, no chemicals; from the chemical, no life; from the biological,
no soul; from the psychological, no society; from the social, no Void;
only from the Eternal perspective does the Void emerge, and seldom can
we realize this world as its projection, or fill in by religion its
missing dimensions to complete and integrate the perspective.
1 Thou Void:
The food I am about to eat
brings pleasure to my senses,
nourishment from action,
and a token of the place I have
in universal strife for order
I did not plant the seeds;
Yet fairly in the game have I earned his fruits
as he unseen earned mine in trade.
With self-respect I eat,
yet I am humble for I could not eat alone.
THE BOOK OF SALVATION
1 Rejoice! you nations of the world,
your suffering is ended, delivery is here.
Announce good news in the streets,
proclaim it through mass media.
Let husbands enfold their wives,
let mothers embrace their children.
Let out the schools--a holiday has come;
let flags unfurl--a celebration is our due.
2 For together we worked and together we
stayed the hand of Doom;
the Disaster-Day has been
called off by our joint operation.
In the shortest time we denied our feuds,
in no time at all our enmity was forgotten.
Compelled to speak and hear each other, we discovered ourselves.
Though we would fail, this
victory was ours.
Requested to change plans and profits, we renewed each other;
though this be vain, the gain
3 Behold now he who directs our moves,
who suffered when we did not know him;
for we jailed and reviled him,
mocked his family and achievements,
suspended him nearly from life,
and charged him with our sin.
4 Gently he bore it, though angry saw our
He humbled himself, though
loudly exalting us.
5 Those days are past--let us make him
now our Priest;
let him lead celebration and feasting,
execute the people's will and minister to our needs.
6 Out of the threat came love; from evil,
It will not always be so, for
evil must succeed or could could not be.
yet now time drinks wine; deep
before at last it lasts no more.
Rejoice today; let us don
masks and play our parts.
Let us know it is tomorrow's
doom that makes today the play.
23 Let the Glory of the Lord be revealed,
the impenetrable mystery
and holy ambiguity of
24 the MYSTERY of human pride and concession.
of man's arts and governments, arsenals and gags,
of the social birth of speech and its dead forms between men,
of prize, attempt, failure,
25 the AMBIGUITY of play and the search for god,
between triviality and significance, the sacred and obscene,
between beauty and terror, care and hurt, interest and obsession,
between good and ill, beast
and man, man and machine,
between the meaning and the
26 Let not the MYSTERY be solved,
nor dispel the AMBIGUITY:
for then--most mysterious ambiguity of all--
then the holiness would depart our midst.
29 An Image! vast and quiet roars at its
it seres those who would come near and
faces from the other side who would remove their stay.
O Image! let me melt into you
let my eyes be scorched from seeing what I see;
let blisters tempt me not to handle the grossness of this world.
Into brilliant blue let
like honesty lapses into old
30 Children speak and no one listens,
Storm ice falls and no tree glistens;
Graves are pimples grown forever,
Ambiguity is severed never.
31 The Image is no escape; the Image is this world
unreformed, unrenewed, and covered with its census;
the Image is myself seen through myself: ugly, vain, and
self-pretentious . . . .
the Image in my eye, the
visual purple, changes; unrepentant hence is.
Klinde determined to circumnavigate the globe, not to explore places,
but to make a circle.
Klinde walked from XX at the XX ip of the XXX continent to ZZ AT THE
other end, which was about a quarter of the distance. At XX, he made a
raft and with paddle and sale, after xxx days, crossed the XXX sea.
Then he walked through the Fire Dessert, and completed the circle by
hot air balloon and landed at XX.
there is a fantastic natural bridge of stone, xxx feeet long and from 1
foot to 18 feet wide, under which the ZZ river
around jagged boulders 80 feet below. On one side of the center of the
bridge is a large quartz stone shaped by the elements into a lens, and
it focuses the rays of the sun at 3 after noon onto a spot on the
bridge which cannot be avoided as one walks across it.
was so absorbed in the trials and, he felt emptiness, of his circle,
and in profound disappointment that instead of being fulfilled he felt
empty, that he did not notice either the hot spot or another despondent
young man who had approached the spot, and counting it the
insurmountable obstacle, was ready to fling himself into the watery
Klinde found a cave for the night. "Ideal," he said as he
noticed that the cave contained a pool of water . Hewhich build a fire
could see the moon from inside the cave.
Some texts say Klinde
thought, How good it is that I am not thinking of saying <" I've
never done anything like this before, even in my youth."