My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, December 7

Gray Clouds, Silver Lining

Yes, there really is a sun behind all those gray clouds. Yesterday was cold and ugly, as it was all over the country. And it put me in one of those ugly gray funks that pose too many questions without any answers. I wrote that gray piece about good and bad death and what lies beyond the dark conclusion to life. Pretty depressing, right? I went back to my memoirs and read what I had to say several years ago about my religious and philosophical beliefs, and I found them refreshingly cogent. Enough so that I’m going to include them here.
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I was a science fiction addict, so religious explanations of the universe never made much sense to me. It was provable scientifically that our planet, Earth, was a tiny insignificant little speck in the immensity of the universe, third planet out from a tiny insignificant little star set way off in a corner of our galaxy, the Milky Way, one of an infinite number of galaxies in the immensity of time and space. That we could be the only intelligent life in that immensity made no sense to me. I always believed that we created God in our own image, not the other way around.

And as for our souls and what happens to us after we die, I always believed that we would live again in the next closest to us genetically. If I had one son, his mother and I would be combined psychically in that son. If we had more than one child, we would be spread out among them. But there would be a continued consciousness evolving and spreading out into the future. Walt Whitman said something like that in Leaves of Grass, that our individual spirit is one speck in an ocean of spirituality and that when we are born we are removed from that pool and placed here in this physical space for the length of our lives, to be returned to the spiritual pool when we die, to await our next time in life. Reincarnation, yes, but not involving insects and lesser animal species. But I take it one step further and believe the human connection must be more direct, a genetic connection, not a random placement.

James Hall, in his novel Buzz Cut, paraphrased from the Tibetan Book of the Dead: “The soul when set loose from the body begins to roam the dark plains of afterlife searching for some speck of light. Finally seeing it, moving toward it, then entering it as the sperm enters the vagina and battles its way up the hostile twists of tube to reach the great mother egg. A dead man wanders until he sees his new parents, then reenters the world through their moment of great pleasure. Becoming a child again, a disembodied scream. All of it starting over and over and over.” I think that’s pretty much what I’ve believed all my life, but never said it so well.

What, then, is God, or some creative force? I don’t believe there is a single creative force. I think life began at some distant time and that all life is a combined force that evolves and spreads out in many different forms in many different parts of the universe. That life force is Godhead. I’m a part of it, everything that has life and motion is part of it. The substance of our universe isn’t part of it anymore than the husks of our bodies are a part of it. When we die, the shell that held our spark of life returns to the substance from which it came. But the spark returns to the body of the life force—Whitman’s pool of spirituality.

Most people haven’t really thought it through and instead let their church or church leaders do their thinking for them. They accept on faith what the church tells them, the church’s explanations of life and death and good and evil and the nature of the universe. Most of them are afraid of death and need the comfort of a social organization to lessen their fears. Most of them believe that good people attend church and evil people don’t.

I believe in the humanity and teachings of Christ. I believe that there is evil in the universe and that we have to combat it through a universal or personal code of ethics, a morality we need to work at and to pass on to our children. Christ was a messiah, a messenger who brought that code of ethics for us to follow. But he wasn’t a messenger from God. He wasn’t the son of God. And he won’t be reappearing tomorrow or any tomorrow thereafter.

Death makes little sense to me. I’ve often thought, if there really is a God, that he must be an unfeeling bastard, allowing the bestiality we read about in the papers every day, allowing the unfair deaths and tragedies that occur all around us. And cruelest of all, the span of our years is like some awful practical joke. Just when we become skillful physically or mentally, just when we’re able to answer most of the questions we asked throughout our lives, it’s time to die. This is the plan of a God who pulls wings from flies. About a quarter of a century ago, Peggy Lee made popular a song called “Is That All There Is?” When I first heard it I thought it was the most cynical, despairing, darkest set of lyrics I’d ever heard. It was, still is, but the words are becoming more and more personal. Is that all there is? Just this ridiculously short span of time without any meaning and then an eternity of nothing? I hope not. But I guess I won’t really find out for sure until it’s too late to report back to the living.

Life, even though painfully short, beats the alternative. Even when we become so weary we’d like to get off the train, we can’t. Somewhere I read that life is like dancing with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you get tired, you stop when the gorilla gets tired. So I guess I’ll just keep dancing.
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