26 June 2008

Letter 2.19

There are still three 'references' needed which perhaps you could check on. First, there is a work by McTaggert called THE NATURE OF EXISTENCE in two volumes. Only Vol. l is available locally. In Vol. 2 could you -- if it's available at the library -- copy paragraphs 353-4 and send them to me. (The book has bold-face paragraph section numbers, though I don't know what page numbers are equivalent to 353-4, only that it's not in Vol. 1). Secondly, can you find out who is the publisher of the British translation of Wittgenstein's TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS and when it was published, etc. Thirdly, there is a work called DICTIONARY OF RELIGION edited by a person named KERN or FERN -- I can't find out which is the correct name. Could you find this out?

Part of the work I've been preparing of Ven. Ñānavīra Thera's writings consists of letters he has written to various people and serves as a good introduction to his thinking. I know of no better way to give you some idea of what it is that I am actually doing -- and what my own attitudes are -- than to show you these letters and say, simply: 'I agree.' Therefore I'm going to begin sending them to you, a section or two at a time (via air mail -- to send it all at once would be beyond the capacities of our postage fund) at intervals of a week or so -- there are 10 'sections'.

Perhaps you will not make anything at all of it -- it is by no means easy, but there is much that does not require any technical knowledge -- simply good will (a desire to understand rather than to find fault) and an effort of the intellect (the mode of thought will be, at first, very difficult for you since it is not familiar). My reason for sending it is not to 'convert' you by any means, nor to argue at all, but rather to give you the opportunity -- if you want it -- to arrive at some understanding of my own views. How much understanding you obtain will depend on how much good will and effort you care to put into your reading of the letters. I certainly don't expect you to agree with it, but I do rather hope you might, to some extent at least, simply understand it. At any rate, you can expect the first two sections fairly soon. If you don't want to even see them, tell me. If you find them of interest then keep them as long as you wish -- forever if you wish. But if you find that you don't want them (or no longer want them) then please return them, as there are others here who would like to use them. So -- keep them, return them, or refuse them, read them or not as you like. But don't misunderstand my reasons for sending them or for asking you to return them if and when you are finished with them.

We were served a new food a few days ago -- chocolate-covered cheese. Sounds peculiar at first, no? But -- there is chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream, etc. So why not chocolate-covered cheese? And, in fact, it turned out to be one of the best combinations I've ever had. (We had yellow cheese. I imagine a white cheese would be best with the chocolate mixed in rather than as a covering.

So Humphrey lost, did he?

Humphrey Dumphrey was dumped from the boat.

Humphrey Dumphrey alone could not float.

All of America and half of the vote,

Were gathered by Nixon and lost by the bloat.

And Nixon won, did he?

Nixon's stones may break my bones, but Spiro Agnew will never hurt me.

And Nixon, Humphrey and Wallace were all running, were they? Three blind mice, three blind mice, see how they run, etc… Or, better, yet:

Three men in a tub.

And who do you think they be?

They're candidates, lawyers, Washington voyeurs --

Turn 'em out, knaves all three!

Humphrey, though, had a real yearning to be president:

Humphrey, Humphrey, candidate,

Had a yen he couldn't sate.

He put it to the voter's test,

But they have sent him West, man, West.

I imagine the voter's attitude, however, to be:

to poll booth, to poll booth, to throw some rascal in.

Home again, home again: where is the gin?

Oh well, the elections provided me with the malicious pleasure of writing these lines, so all those millions weren't wasted after all.

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