The Banyan Believes in God

Third day of exceptionally fine weather ending in a walk under a shimmering moon. Best vegetarian curry with Naan I’ve ever had at this joint: I don’t ordinarily plug things on this Serious blog but I shall make an exception here. On Lamma, there are a number of excellent restaurants such as Bookworm and the Szechuan joint but this joint is something very special. It’s next to the public toilet in a guesthouse where there used to be a bakery.

…and, of course, hanging out with friends. An end to my long isolation. Mom and Dad might have thought they were riff raff so shy and indeed innocent Mom and Dad were. But I am not innocent and I am riff or raff or both.

I think I have surgery tomorrow, I have an appointment at which the results of the PET scan will probably be known. I am prepared emotionally. Indeed, getting a bit too used to the drill: take lots to read, pen and notebook, don’t bother with laptop, it’s too heavy and many wards are shielded from wireless signals especially scanner wards.

But…an evening with friends has eliminated any pain from sciatica and some of the numbness. I have to confirm this in the next couple of days by halving the pain meds and then eliminating them. Basically, I have either pain or a little nausea insofar as I maintain my patterns of isolation.

I still believe that I need about a fifty-fifty balance of hospitals and science on the one hand, and holism on the other. But in hospitals I just endure whereas tonight was positively enjoyable in a way that you’d think would be illegal these days. As I said in 2009 in “A Note on the Mercy of the Night” I’m supposed as a divorced old guy to be a miserable son of a bitch. But I said “f*k that shit” then and I say it now.

Oooohhh I may never run again. So what? One door closes another opens.

I reason, Earth is short —
And Anguish — absolute —
And many hurt,
But, what of that?

I reason, we could die —
The best Vitality
Cannot excel Decay,
But, what of that?

I reason, that in Heaven —
Somehow, it will be even —
Some new Equation, given —
But, what of that?

Emily Dickinson

The poet’s asking a radical question. She saying that as far as we’re concerned, in our box of space and time, Raum undt Zeit, we are the decider like George Bush said he was. Even if we have it all spelled out for us we have to know how to read it. Moses had to get another copy of the Commandments because in his anger at the Golden Calf he smashed the first one. That must have been rather embarrassing for Moses: “uh, God, can you give me another copy?”. But the myth expresses the truth of writing. It’s not the same as getting it engraved on our hearts so that it makes a difference.

We have to answer Emily’s question, “what of that?”. Conventionally religious people expect us to answer in a certain way just like sports fans expect us to wear team regalia. But Dietrich Boehnhoffer and Karl Jaspers knew that our answer might really anger people, as do the characters in the 2009 Klaus Guth dramatized Messiah.

That an experience such as being in the towers of Sep 11 or merely getting a raw Diagnosis that we do not want to get might be transformative in a way that will make other people reject us. That we might be not very nice to be around. Of course, I do want to be nice to be around, and the last thing I’d want to do is God-wallop anyone. For one thing, my experience has had nothing to do with “religion” as ordinarily understood. Quite the opposite.

Emily was anti-religious even more so than Emerson:

“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency

…as are PET scans. I can’t believe I was unwilling to get one. But I did and now the docs have far more information than they would have even as recently as 1990.

I shall also have to pay for the recommended hormone therapy and will do so cheerfully since it ain’t radiation or chemo. Gee, the worst side effect may be a set of tits and not needing to shave? Bring it on…

I have confidently asserted in classes that “all natural trees are mathematical trees” because I believed that no branch of any tree would grow back into the branch from which it sprouted, or a sub-branch of the branch from which it sprouted.

This is false. For today I discovered that the Banyan tree’s root system is what mathematicians call “a general graph”, one with “arcs” that lead to “nodes” that lead back into the originating node and arc!

Edward G. Nilges, “To the Unknown Helper, Installation 1 July 2012”. Drawing, pencil, pen, computer-added colours, aged with sun and rain at Lamma Island chicken wire advertisement wall. Copyright 2012 by Edward G. Nilges. Moral rights asserted.

Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment: in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The trumpet shall sound, and we shall all be changed, be changed incorruptible. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Change Record

23 August 2013 Corrected the link to the Guth Messiah music-drama, replacing the broken link


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