The Mystery

Halifax Bar Conversation
July 31, `82

On Cape Breton, when Mike and I were together, Dorothy and Bruce came into our campsite and asked if they could videotape the two of us. At the time, we were setting up our tent. Dorothy wanted to include a camping scene in the
advertising campaign she and Bruce were putting together. Before the
evening was over, we were invited to Bruce’s place if and when we
arrived in Halifax. Since Bill and I had just arrived in Halifax, it
was time to see if that invitation was still good, and it was.

After spending a very pleasant evening with Bruce, in the morning, he
asked Bill and I if we wanted to go with him to a photo shoot that he
was doing down at the docks. Bill agreed, but I opted for a different
kind of sightseeing. I went to the Mariners’ Museum and after that
took in Halifax’s art gallery. Later in the afternoon, however, the
three of us met at a prearranged spot—Bruce’s favorite bar. Just as I
arrived at the bar, Bill got up to leave. He had previously called up the
girl he had met on the train, and the two of them agreed to a dinner date.

Bruce was in a talkative mood. He and Bill had had a few beers before
I arrived, so he was overflowing with questions. Bill had told him
about my beliefs concerning God and Bruce wanted to know more. “You
know,” he said, “I used to talk a lot about God too, but it wasn’t
very flattering. Your God seems different; that is, if I understood
Bill correctly. So tell me, are you talking pantheism or something else?”

“Bill must have turned over a new leaf,” I replied, “he was never
really into religion. But, no matter, it’s my favorite subject, and,
yes, I believe in a kind of pantheism, but it’s even more than that. I
guess you could say I believe in the mystery of understanding, the
mystery that gives conscious insight into the workings of the
universe—a divine universe.”

“What are you talking about—some kind of conscious pantheism,” Bruce
responded.

“Yeah, something like that,” I replied, “but I’m also talking about
why the universe is predictable and behaves according to law.”

“Excuse me,” Bruce said, “can you explain that?”

“I’d rather we just enjoy our beer,” I replied.

“Bill sparked my interest and now you, if you will, need to fill in the gaps–please,” said Bruce.

“Ok, actually the best way to enjoy a beer, for me,” I said, “is to talk about religion. In a nutshell, it works like this: nature becomes comprehensible because God is in
nature, and that’s the reality of it.”

“I like that,” replied Bruce. “At least the reality part; my camera and
I know a little something about that. But you know, what you just
said sounds a lot like Hegel. History, for Hegel, was the
self-realization process of God.”

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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