Thursday, April 09, 2015

Near-Death Experiences

INK BOTTLE“I was just thinking that life makes almost everyone into something that he never exactly wanted to be, and then the time comes when he can’t very well be anything else.”

~ John P. Marquand, Melville Goodwin, USA
Your work on earth draws to a close and you are near the silence. It is growing dark for you. Many write of such things, but they do not know. You have only opened the way — though you have gone as far as you could upon it… But I am sure that higher and holier enlightenment lies — onward.
We don’t look to poems for factual truths. Poetry is truest when it attends to something beyond facts: the education of our emotions... Poetry between the Lines of Cold River

The story of invisibility. Thoughts, feelings, personalities, psyches, morals, minds, souls: The world is held together by what we cannot see... At Large Invisible Stories

The hero’s journey is so pervasive in storytelling because it is so aspirational. It offers the possibility of escape and transformation.

The 2014 movie Heaven Is for Real, about a young boy who told his parents he had visited heaven while he was having emergency surgery, grossed a respectable $91 million in the United States. The book it was based on, published in 2010, has sold some 10 million copies and spent 206 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Two recent books by doctors—Proof of Heaven, by Eben Alexander, who writes about a near-death experience he had while in a week-long coma brought on by meningitis, and To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal, who had her NDE while submerged in a river after a kayaking accident—have spent 94 and 36 weeks, respectively, on the list. (The subject of The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, published in 2010, recently admitted that he made it all up.)
Empirically investigating brushes with the afterlife The Science of Near-Death Experiences 

[Gustavo Ibarra] lent me Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables, which marked me for life. Together we attempted a theory of the fatality of nostalgia in the wanderings of Ulysses Odysseus, where we became lost and never found our way out. Half a century later I discovered it resolved in a masterful text by Milan Kundera.

Writing poetry is an unnatural act. It takes great skill to make it seem natural. Most of the poet’s energies are really directed towards this goal: to convince himself (perhaps, with luck, eventually some readers) that what he’s up to and what he’s saying is really an inevitable, only natural way of behaving under the circumstances.