Soul is not even that Crackerjack prize that God and Satan scuffle over after the worms have all licked our bones. That's why, when we ponder--as sooner or later each of us must--exactly what we ought to be doing about our soul, religion is the wrong, if conventional, place to turn. Religion is little more than a transaction in which troubled people trade their souls for temporary and wholly illusionary psychological comfort--the old give-it-up-in-order-to-save-it routine. Religions lead us to believe that the soul is the ultimate family jewel and that in return for our mindless obedience, they can secure it for us in their vaults, or at least insure it against fire theft. They are mistaken.
Well, Kessa, I am glad to see that you're taking your body seriously. I shudder when I see the girls leaving class and heading for the nearest hamburger, coke, and French fry station.The thought of them pouring all those dead calories into themselves makes me want to cry. You'd think after a rigorous dance class they'd have more respect for their bodies.
[The goal is] "liberation from the bondage of rebirth. According to the Vedantists the self, which they call the atman and we call the soul, is distinct from the body and its senses, distinct from the mind and its intelligence; it is not part of the Absolute, for the Absolute, being infinite, can have no parts but the Absolute itself. It is uncreated; it has existed form eternity and when at least it has cast off the seven veils of ignorance will return to the infinitude from which it came. It is like a drop of water that has arisen from the sea, and in a shower has fallen into a puddle, then drifts into a brook, finds its way into a stream, after that into a river, passing through mountain gorges and wide plains, winding this way and that, obstructed by rocks and fallen trees, till at least it reaches the boundless seas from which it rose.""But that poor little drop of water, when it has once more become one with the sea, has surely lost its individuality."Larry grinned."You want to taste sugar, you don't want to become sugar. What is individuality but the expression of our egoism? Until the soul has shed the last trace of that it cannot become one with the Absolute.""You talk very familiarly of the Absolute, Larry, and it's an imposing word. What does it actually signify to you?" "Reality. You can't say what it is ; you can only say what it isn't. It's inexpressible. The Indians call it Brahman. It's not a person, it's not a thing, it's not a cause. It has no qualities. It transcends permanence and change; whole and part, finite and infinite. It is eternal because its completeness and perfection are unrelated to time. It is truth and freedom.""Golly," I said to myself, but to Larry: "But how can a purely intellectual conception be a solace to the suffering human race? Men have always wanted a personal God to whom they can turn in their distress for comfort and encouragement.""It may be that at some far distant day greater insight will show them that they must look for comfort and encouragement in their own souls. I myself think that the need to worship is no more than the survival of an old remembrance of cruel gods that had to be propitiated. I believe that God is within me or nowhere. If that's so, whom or what am I to worship—myself? Men are on different levels of spiritual development, and so the imagination of India has evolved the manifestations of the Absolute that are known as Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and by a hundred other names. The Absolute is in Isvara, the creator and ruler of the world, and it is in the humble fetish before which the peasant in his sun-baked field places the offering of a flower. The multitudinous gods of India are but expedients to lead to the realization that the self is one with the supreme self.
It's a long road he took to get here. That's why I was emotional. It just that it wasn't a normal road to get here. A couple weeks ago I didn't have a brakeman. Back home for Christmas, I kept thinking I might have to drive him to the airport in St. Moritz to fly home and watch the Olympics from there.
The soul, in its loneliness, hopes only for "salvation." And yet what is the burden of the Bible if not a sense of the mutuality of influence, rising out of an essential unity, among soul and body and community and world? These are all the works of God, and it is therefore the work of virtue to make or restore harmony among them. The world is certainly thought of as a place of spiritual trial, but it is also the confluence of soul and body, word and flesh, where thoughts must become deeds, where goodness must be enacted. This is the great meeting place, the narrow passage where spirit and flesh, word and world, pass into each other. The Bible's aim, as I read it, is not the freeing of the spirit from the world. It is the handbook of their interaction. It says that they cannot be divided; that their mutuality, their unity, is inescapable; that they are not reconciled in division, but in harmony. What else can be meant by the resurrection of the body? The body should be "filled with light," perfected in understanding. And so everywhere there is the sense of consequence, fear and desire, grief and joy. What is desirable is repeatedly defined in the tensions of the sense of consequence.
You see? That's the point. It's all a big guess. They hope, they pray, they cook and garden and get a better job to pay the mortgage and read dirty books to keep bedtime interesting, but they don't know. There are no guarantees. Sometimes you just stop loving someone. You just stop.
Nancy was a writer with a lot of soul. That's something that most critics either don't have the opportunity to share with you or just can't. She had the kind of humanity that is embracing. It was always a surprise to see the tremendous artistry of her writing, the wit and flair. I really liked her. She'll be missed, that's for sure.
You know when you send a text message to someone and you don't get a response right away, you feel depressed? You send a text message to someone you really like and you get a response right away you feel happy? You feel happy, the body, it creates the chemical dopamine, the dopamine, it goes through your blood and you become addicted to that dopamine rush, and you associate that dopamine rush with the happy feeling of receiving the text, and that's why you got people sending 3,000 fucking text messages a day, right, we're not even paying attention to what we're saying anymore it's just like a, like a morphine drip, right, it's like a dopamine drip! HAPPY BUTTONS! HAPPY BUTTONS! HAPPY BUTTONS! TIME TO PLAY WITH THE HAPPY BUTTONS!