Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Outside, In

I am fascinated with I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter.

Where I am reading now he is talking about how much we desire to be inside another person's brain.  That is why we watch television shows, listen to gossip, and read novels.  He sees this is how we develop empathy.  We begin to understand the other.  As part of this, we may also take the other into ourselves, have a place in our brain for their "pattern."

He is trying to deal with the loss of his wife Carol.

He writes this:

The sad truth is, of course, that no copy is perfect, and that my copies of Carol's memories are hugely defective and incomplete, nowhere close to the level of detail in the originals. The sad truth is, of course, that Carol is reduced, in her inhabitation of my cranium, to only a tiny fraction of what she used to be.  The sad truth is, my brain's mosaic of Carol's essence is far more coarse-grained than the privileged mosaic that resided in her brain was. That is the sad truth.  Death's sting cannot be denied. And yet death's sting is not quite as absolute or as total as it might seem.

When the sun is eclipsed, there remains a corona surrounding it, a circumferential glow. When someone dies, they leave a glowing corona behind them, an afterglow in the souls of those who were close to them. Inevitably, as time passes, the afterglow fades and finally goes out, but it takes many years for this to happen. When, eventually, all of those close ones have died as well, then all the embers will have gone cool, and at that point, it's "ashes to ashes and dust to dust."

He then quotes from the novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, which, if you haven't read it, is a wonder.

From The Heart is a Lonely Hunter:

Late the next morning he sat sewing in the room upstairs.  Why? Why was it that in cases of real love the one who is left does not more often follow the beloved by suicide? Only because the living must bury the dead?  Because of the measured rites that must be fulfilled after a death? Because it is as though the one who is left steps for a time upon a stage and each second swells to an unlimited amount of time and he is watched by many eyes? Because there is a function he must carry out? Or perhaps, when there is love, the widowed must stay for the resurrection of the beloved - so that the one who has gone is not really dead, but grows and is created for a second time in the soul of the living?

I believe each moment, each breath, is life and death, and, that we here are connected in a way that resurrects.  


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