Hemingway on faith, discouragement, guilt, choice

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
F: 4:25 a.m. Remarkable amount of work here, recently. Started a 150 page journal Oct. 26 and I’m nearly 2/3rds through it in 16 days.
I’m ready to go again, if you are. But I’ve lost track of where we are. Seems like we were trying to show something that changed when Martha Gellhorn came into your life in 1936.
EH: In the meantime you have realized a little more clearly that you are helping to portray – no, scratch that. Let’s say, your access is to facts that bridge the internal and external worlds of Hemingway that was. The fact of such access is to encourage others to learn to do it if they want to. The content revealed by such access is to enlighten those who care about a particular individual’s experience of the world, to illumine by one example the human condition in a context that is more than the contemporarily normal way of considering only half or less of a person’s world.
F: The process for one audience, the content mostly for a different audience.
EH: Let’s say the content for a larger audience. Its audience will include the other audience.
F: All right. And I have finally been getting a sense of what to do.

EH: The way always becomes clear by the living of it; it is the meaning of the way that may be obscure first to last. But if you live in faith that the meaning exists, there’s less wear and tear on the machinery. Of course, it’s a circular argument, because you don’t have faith by deciding you’re going to have it. You are born with it, or you aren’t. The only grey area is that you may be born with it and allow yourself to be persuade to disbelieve it.
F: Can get discouraged.
EH: Well—
That’s how it can appear, that you get discouraged, sure. But there is a nuance there that isn’t right. That has a sense as if it was a tire losing air – and, sure, it can feel like that. But it is a choice. It is a laying down of certain threads of hope and picking up of certain threads of refusal-of-hope, or perhaps rejection-of-the-life-I-have-been-given. Ask me how I know, as they say in your time!
F: The example in my mind as I was writing that is Victor Frankl.
EH: That’s the one. If a man in a concentration camp realizes that he can still choose his attitude toward life, what excuse do the rest of us have?
F: Except, your mental illness grew on you, disoriented you.
EH: Refusal of legitimate suffering. We went through all that, remember.
F: So we did. All right. That is in my Hemingway book somewhere.
EH: However, I should add, that other example in your mind, Wild Bill Cody, also from the camps.
F: Yes. George Ritchie wrote about him. A Polish lawyer of an unpronounceable name [named Wild Bill by his American liberators because of his prominent mustache] who saw his entire family shot in 1939, lived through the entire war in prisoner of war camps, and emerged still healthy and full of life because he had decided at the moment he saw the Germans kill his family that he would still choose love and not hatred. George said he saw in “Wild Bill’s” eyes the same thing he had seen, during his near-death experience, in the eyes of Jesus.
EH: It is always a choice, and in our best moments we choose one way and in our worst moments we choose another way. One way leads to health – to wholeness, which we’ll have to speak about – and the other leads to detachment from the source of life and vitality, and ultimately leads, not in any direct way, but clearly, to the death of a larger connection to the rest of oneself.
Yes, of course that needs clarifying. Yes, you can’t sever the connection. But you can, and people often do, distance themselves from awareness of it. That’s what is called not listening to your conscience, or your good angels, or whatever. You understand? It is choosing not to know what you do know, which means putting a screen between your 3D mind and its deeper resources. It winds up leaving you bewildered and alone and discouraged and ready to die not because you have exhausted the possibilities of your life but because you have chosen a path that ends.
F: As happened another time, I’m tempted to end here. That sounds like a statement designed as a wrap up of a subject.
EH: And, as before, it isn’t and you know it and don’t know it. But that’s most of your life, isn’t it? Knowing and not knowing?
F: I don’t know about other people, but it’s mine, anyway.
EH: Other people’s lives always look plainer and more straightforward than your own; it’s because you get only an external view of their actions, and only a few of them. It’s like reading even an extensive biography – most everything a person experiences has to be left out, so all you get is a few threads, which makes it look simpler and more obviously coherent than it ever appeared to the person living it.
F: All right. So—
EH: Remember even though we are going so slowly and deliberately, we are still following that one thread in my life as I lived it. Everything that appears and gets dealt with along the way is a part of hat exploration, obviously or otherwise. The topic of guilt and deliberately refusing to know and setting up barriers to what I really did know but preferred not to know is very much a part of this thread that leads from Hadley to Pauline to Martha and beyond.
F: Guilt and refusing to know. I thought we had exhausted this subject.
EH: We touched on it. We provided people an entry point if they cared to pursue it. That’s a long way from exhausting it. It is not only important to my story, it is my story, from one point of view. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand my necessary and unnecessary sufferings. And if you don’t understand that, how much sense can my life’s events make to you? The people who write of my life as if it were an appendage to my writing – and mostly to my published writing, at that – don’t actually see my life at all. They see a simplified cartoon.
F: So, looking back today. A sense of what to do; living in faith, or not; discouragement as a choice; separation from our larger being as a source; guilt and a dead-end path.
EH: However, by implication, a way to avoid dead-end paths, which leads back to, a sense of what do to next, and the requirement that you live in faith that the way will be there.
F: I can hear people thinking, “life can be beautiful, how unrealistically idealistic of you.”
EH: That’s why I chose the examples I did from what you know. If Frankl and “Wild Bill” could choose, in their circumstances, who should not be able to?
F: It does put a different light on our own suffering – which can be little more than confusion, I suppose.
EH: Well, you know, one advantage of experiencing 3D lives is that we can act as interpreters for those who haven’t ever done it. We can tell them, “it’s harder than it looks.” So, we don’t – I in this particular interest don’t – undervalue people’s sufferings. Suffering is a part of life and is not to be missed or dismissed. It is valuable, but it is still suffering, and you know the little parable about the house that never knew sorrow.
F: Yes. A woman had some unbearable grief – the loss of a beloved child or something – and was advised that the only way for her to get relief was to provide a piece of firewood (I think it was) from a house that had never known sorrow. Of course, she was never able to find such a house, and eventually she absorbed the lesson.
EH: A multi-layered lesson as is usual with such teaching tales.
All right, there’s your hour, and here is a place to pause. We’ll go in a different direction, next time.
F: We will?
EH: Stay tuned. By the way, it won’t have occurred to you, that phrase was not a familiar one to me in life. Because I lived in Cuba, I never lived with television as a regular part of my life, only if I was visiting New York or somewhere. I really did live in a world you can’t easily imagine. You don’t watch TV now but as a kid, you did, and now you live among media. Okay, till next time.
F: Next time. Our continued thanks, even if we don’t always make a point of expressing them.

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