—–On this topic, hey, I don’t even know who I am addressing half the time, but I just am muttering under my breath, sidling around with my head bowed like I am earnestly talking to someone–it just isn’t very resolved what I am saying, or whether I take ownership of what I am saying. Or, I might be listening to someone in the shadows, who is walking half a step behind me, talking in my ear, and repeating what they say, because I can’t get it straight the first time, but it is important, it is on a vitally important and consuming subject, that concerns us all. You see what I mean, it is the subject of death, and its final import, all of its meaning as it clamps down on individuals I can only know as alive, and cuts into the future–this is under discussion as life relentlessly flourishes. I have to fit this discussion in sideways. People’s nerves are raw.
—–It isn’t that I don’t accept the idea . . . of people still existing after they have died. Certainly! I pretty much think they do, and they certainly don’t leave my thoughts. But–I have trouble picturing them, I can’t find anything for them to be doing, like right immediately after they are dead, and forever after! That’s what the funny thing is, and what this mumbling is about, why I am not satisfied with the state of my own understanding, on this topic, you see. For the people who die, I have no location, no setting, no rigged-up theater, to put them in. I’ve used up all my understanding on the humming totality of this world, and soaked all perceptible matter with tingling life, like the majority force, and I couldn’t say it more baldly. Right here in life is where we are invested, and we have served it, lapped it up, and royally enjoyed ourselves, together in this one-time world. When somebody leaves, what do you do? Close the door; leave it slightly open? I have seen the life get drained right out of someone, and I’ve seen people get knocked silly and shunted aside like rag dolls. I have attended funerals, like it was just a ceremony and there would a reception with the dead one attending, right after in the main ballroom. There are dry arguments for the immortal soul, that poorly compare and don’t measure up to what I see. They are like twitterings next to the howling in one’s mind that says “I don’t understand this at all!”, and if that is your bootstrapping religion it will fall apart in your hands. I am embarrassed by my poor progress on this theme, I am clearly soft-headed, persuaded by images, when death is on deck. I simply end up fascinated by possibility.
—–Who is going to say about someone, whom they have personally known, that they are obliterated by their own death, that they are over the ridge and gone forever? It’s all about other people, not yourself, every time. You yourself, clearly are a special case, because, well–there is a point of view difference, to put it dully. One laughs at that, and the laughter catches in the throat of someone, and there is another one gone.
—–I am addressing the question of what happens to other people after they die.
—–And I can’t transfer anything of this world anywhere beyond or outside this world. And if these other people have gone somewhere, fine, abstractly that is just fine with me, but I can’t begin to construct this other place, I have no timber for these mansions in heaven, I used it all up here so eagerly and so endorsing of the spectacle of the totality of this world. Precisely, insofar as this world is meaningful, it is self-sufficient and I have have burned up all our resources. I have no emotional bridge to make, to form, say, the beginning of a way of speaking of these newly dead people who used to talk in my living room, and with whom I jogged side by side, and sat with at picnic tables. It is an impossible topic, and precisely so it cannot be denied and must be addressed. But you are false if you deal with it falsely. Do not think I am eliminating any future continuity; but I am asking, what will I have to recognize them with?
—–It certainly isn’t that I don’t assent to the idea of people still existing after death, I am sure I have made that clear. I am mumbling “of course I am thinking of specific people”, this is is not philosophy, but desperate dealing between me and the individuals themselves, whom I remember. They must exist, I have confirmed it, they are not eliminated from my thinking certainly, I just can’t put them anywhere. But thought has horizons beyond my sight, and they have gone into my thoughts for good–so they are working full-time you might say.
—–But I do not name them, or trample upon this memory, because this memory is open, still in progress. I think they are beggars now, not wrapped in glory. I hear them in my prayers. I worry about the dead. But this is self-serving, it is my peculiar requirement, for I am scheming still in their regard, rather self-righteous, rather possessive, no? But I am sure I am not more radically mixed up than many others, still living, out there, say, on the tennis court. That is what it is, a tennis match, and the players are silent, or have just left the court and it is beginning to rain. People don’t talk about the dead, their own dead, because their thoughts about them specifically are so mixed up they would confuse anyone listening, and impinge upon them, the one listening (or, far away, or in close, the one dead). The dead are finicky. And it is hard too getting along here, with each other. And people covet their own preliminary conclusions, about those who have abandoned them, or whom they cherish, or murdered in their thoughts already, and must keep them from rolling too far out of place, in case . . .
—–In case there are scenes in eternity which make these earthly scenes pale like they were provisional all along, because the dead are themselves jealous of us, perhaps, they are not gloating and they are not having dinner with gods. On the other hand, surely they have overcome the petty things here, and the things they bragged on. For example . . . no, I said I cannot get into it, because it will jeopardize others, who are living. This is impossible! Yet it is inevitable, this line of thought. How to put it? On this topic, I want to begin by saying, should one utterly succumb to the discussion of it, then . . .