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on Wolfhart Pannenberg, theology, and science. Part 1

Hello. Good morning.

When my professor finishes marking my paper (A Recapitulation of Pannenberg’s “The Theology of Creation and the Natural Sciences” in: The Historicity of Nature, PA:Templeton, 2008, 25–39.) I will upload it here.

But first, as preliminaries, I want to share a few information that served as submitted-supplement to that paper and which I thought was necessary to have at least the minimum grip on in order to appreciate Pannenberg’s above-mentioned book-chapter.

That is, I did some readings on these in order to ready myself for the class report. Additionally, having a glimpse of the enormity of subject areas that Pannenberg has been trying to link [together] makes one appreciative of the breadth of Pannenberg’s outlook on the connectivity and source of everything: God. I wouldn’t have appreciated Pannenberg [that] much had I no inkling at all of concepts he had in his sights while doing his theological reflections in relation to the natural world.

I’m grateful to authors who make available on the web easily understood basic information on specialized areas of knowledge, like the ones here that I found, below.

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Here is the Supplements now [very sligthly edited]:

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SUPPLEMENT PAGE | PANNENBERG: The Theology of Creation and the Natural Sciences. [Oberseminar SS2014]

DEFINITIONS.
  ♦  natural science = any of the sciences (as physics, chemistry, or biology) that deal with matter, energy, and their interrelations and transformations or with objectively measurable phenomena (Merriam-Webster)
  ♦  quantum physics = the study or description of components and processes within the atom
  ♦  indeterminacy in quantum physics = Heisenberg’s term ‘inaccuracy relations’ (Ungenauigkeitsrelationen) or ‘indeterminacy relations’ (Unbestimmtheitsrelationen) was dealt with in his 1927 papers where he said of sub-atomic particles (paraphrased here ->) “You cannot know the position of a particle and how fast it’s moving with arbitrary precision at the same moment… The more accurately you know the position, more uncertain you are about the momentum and vice versa… So we have essentially given up on predicting the position of a particle accurately, because of the uncertainty principle. All we can do is predict the probabilities.” (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/basics-of-quantum-mechanics-for-dummies.html ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/) both accessed 20June2014
  ♦  chaos theory = the study of how even simple systems can display complex behaviour. These systems can seem straightforward — but are very sensitive to initial starting conditions and this can cause seemingly ‘random’ effects. (homeschooling-ideas.com)
  ♦  field = in physics, region throughout which a force may be exerted; examples are the gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields that surround, respectively, masses, electric charges, and magnets. Fields are used to describe all cases where two bodies separated in space exert a force on each other. Each type of force has its own appropriate field. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia)
♦  for descriptions on spacetime, etc, this webpage may be of help: http://www.ws5.com/spacetime/
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What is Chaos Theory?                     http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-is-chaos-theory/ [accessed 20June2014]

Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. […] By understanding the complex, chaotic dynamics of the atmosphere, a balloon pilot can “steer” a balloon to a desired location. By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.

PRINCIPLES OF CHAOS:
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: This effect grants the power to cause a hurricane in China to a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space/time, the hurricane would not have happened. A more rigorous way to express this is that small changes in the initial conditions lead to drastic changes in the results.
UNPREDICTABILITY: Because we can never know all the initial conditions of a complex system in sufficient (i.e. perfect) detail, we cannot hope to predict the ultimate fate of a complex system. Even slight errors in measuring the state of a system will be amplified dramatically, rendering any prediction useless. Since it is impossible to measure the effects of all the butterflies (etc) in the World, accurate long-range weather prediction will always remain impossible.
ORDER / DISORDER: Chaos is not simply disorder. Chaos explores the transitions between order and disorder, which often occur in surprising ways.
MIXING: Turbulence ensures that two adjacent points in a complex system will eventually end up in very different positions after some time has elapsed. Examples: Two neighboring water molecules may end up in different parts of the ocean or even in different oceans. A group of helium balloons that launch together will eventually land in drastically different places. Mixing is thorough because turbulence occurs at all scales. It is also nonlinear: fluids cannot be unmixed.
FEEDBACK: Systems often become chaotic when there is feedback present. A good example is the behavior of the stock market. As the value of a stock rises or falls, people are inclined to buy or sell that stock. This in turn further affects the price of the stock, causing it to rise or fall chaotically.
FRACTALS: Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. […] Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, etc.

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That’s it. For a quick peek at fractals you may click on my Home tab, above, and the page opened will have a few illustrations of fractals beneath that themselves are links to explanatory pages on them.

Viel Spaß und alles Gute. Ciao.

 

 

 

 

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on John Samuel Mbiti and religious plurality in Africa

Hello. Good morning.

Within the attached pdf document, see link below, is my approximately 4-page summary of the following articles:

African theology revisited by John S. Pobee [pp. 135-143]

John Mbiti’s contribution to African theology by Kwame Bediako [pp. 367-388]

Both are found in: Religious Plurality in Africa: Essays in Honour of John S. Mbiti. Edited by Jacob K. Olupona and Sulayman S. Nyang. In: Religion and Society 32. Berlin. 1993.

Clicking on the link opens the pdf file at another tab –> on John S. Mbiti and religious plurality in Africa

At the end of the 6-page pdf document is a 1-page note on the word ubuntu of the Bantu culture.

This summary-paper has been officially graded by my professor. The care I put into the effort reflects my fascination of the collective cultures of the African continent, but of which lack of extra time on my part preventing further personal exploration.

Viel Spaß und alles Gute.

Ciao.

 

on MM Thomas, a book chapter’s recap

Hello. Good morning.

The attached pdf file in this post was a paper for an Oberseminar in SS2011. It has been officially graded by my professor. The source-document was a big chapter and I wrestled a sweeping 2-page recap from it. Experts on the subject will easily see the inadequacies. The final file has 4 pages because I had wanted to include a substantial introduction of the author, Madathilparampil Mammen Thomas (1916–1996).

At the end of the attached pdf file written is: “This article is sacadalang’s recapitulation (written on July 16, 2011) of the aforementioned book’s chapter and was uploaded on August 1, 2014 at: https://sacadalang.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/on-mm-thomas-a-book-chapters-recap/

Clicking on this link opens the file in another tab. –>  MM Thomas, an intro & a chapter recap

Just a quick description of the source-chapter, and is also an excerpt from the recap:

“Our chapter is a sort of a gathering-together of what the prominent Christians of renascent India said about (their) societal upheaval in the early decades of the 20th Century as representative voices of their country’s Christian population, while being fully conscious of their being “Hindu”.”

Viel Spaß und alles Gute.
Ciao.

The Term “Cruel” and Its Derivatives in “Tarzan of the Apes”

🙂 Hi.

I made a term paper in class and when the professor handed it back with a heart-warming grade I asked him if it was okay to share it online. So here it is. Why? Because I spent energy on it and now that I got a grade for it I felt bad that its use ends up just there. I made it to pass, yes, but it was only me and my teacher who got to read it, so, what the heck. Better let it out and be done with it. 🙂 If you can’t appreciate the way I made it then at least see how crazily easy and difficult it is at the same time.

Please click on the link below to view the paper, in pdf:

The Term Cruel and Its Derivatives in Tarzan of the Apes

I had to edit the format before uploading because the tables musn’t be cut at the wrong places. It has lots of tables. [Also, I had to reduce the font so that you’ll save expenses when printing 🙂 ] It is a paper on a dime novel, the analysis of which depends on tables.

Tarzan of the Apes in All Story 1912

The cover of the magazine that let out the first Tarzan story into the world, in 1912. The picture was copied from: http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/Tarzan

So that’s the difficult part. Attention has to be given to the descriptions that accompany each table that appears, one after the other. Attention has to be given to the placements of elements inside the tables, within rows and columns alike. Otherwise, it’s all just a bunch of jumbled gibberish. Honestly, I really found myself laughing at my work for a long time 😀

The easy part, eh?, was that since I couldn’t come up with how to say things nicely after months of reading about Tarzan and his world both in and outside the book I decided instead to find a pattern within the product itself, the finished sold-like-hotcake novel that turned Edgar Rice Burroughs into an instant sensation. The idea came to me while I was noticing that many words alluding to cruelty keep appearing one after the other as I turn the pages. It became a sort of a game to me, wanting to find out if I could distill something out of the prolific appearances of such nasty words in such an innocent-sounding story. Yosh! I was on my way. I felt that it was the cleanest way I could do the requirement without getting bogged down in the arguments for or against this and that, not the least being what kind of guy and gal Tarzan and Jane are. The arguments touch on psychology, history, sociology, literary criticism (which I don’t know much on!)… the works.

Papers are among the craziest things in the world. That’s a personal opinion 🙂 and you can argue ’til you’re blue with me all I’ll give out is an I-don’t-know-anything chuckle.

So do I like Tarzan? I used to, but not anymore. However, both that question and that answer may first have to be verified as to which particular Tarzan is being asked of and which particular Tarzan did I like. Anyway, the Tarzan of the apes is a caricature of a wish that originated from a context that won’t get a vote from me. That Tarzan’s outside-the-book world was a time when discrimination was a respected norm.

Needless to say I learned much from and through my readings on Tarzan, many of which were not used in this paper. However, those are the more important ones. 🙂 My teacher’s parting comment was that the presentation was nicely put up but I should have written more on the conclusion. I agreed with him, too, but at that time I was already fed up with so much thinking about Tarzan, day in and out, that I was simply relieved to have wrapped up fast and get the load off my hands 😛

Thank you, Mr. Garfitt.

Jesus came to banish fear.

jesus of wigan  Though I haven’t gone through the entire book yet, the few parts that I have read so far are making good sense to me. For one, I can see that it’s obviously made out of love, that it’s a true labor of love, and it deserves much respect and consideration. Thank you, Francis Garfitt, for writing this fascinating and refreshing book about a living man and a living story that was calcified within just a few pages two thousand years ago.

I have always gone by the thought that if truth is in God, that if ‘truth’ is an embodiment of God, then there’s no way of disproving Him nor that our insistence on “defending” Him will add to that truthfulness. In pursuing my personal studies on that distant world of two thousand years ago when Jesus of Nazareth shook his world, I would like to listen to this particular voice that projects Jesus’ story’s context through a personal conviction using the platform of the contemporary world. ‘Evangelism’, after all, is not limited to the mainstream’s definition of it, if the reader sees it as that. A storyteller is by all means entitled to any artful way of delivering an old story with full relevance. We, those of us who want to keep on telling a story that has been stamped ‘unchangeable’, may just have to take the courage to step out of the silenced crowd and speak in a way that will make the story enabling again even to those who have been rendered numb by the challenges of everyday survival — the way that Jesus of Nazareth did. That’s love.  Jesus of Wigan

What I especially find refreshing among the narratives is the inclusion of the scientific perspective in order to bring about a multi-perspective handling of whatever scene is featured. In this book science is integrated as a tool for looking at what is. The outcome resonates with the Hebrew worldview where things are dealt with integrally, like for example that a human being is not allocated into body-&-soul parts. So far I can see it doesn’t pretend to know everything yet it’s a humbling book. It will make one look at things differently, make one recall the time when one realized that things are not what they are as seen on the surface. It will encourage you to love. It will confirm your simplest reasons for wishing for happiness.

(Note: Today is May 19, 2016. This was written 2 years ago. I need to update it soon. I just got to find the time. Get the book if you can. Jesus of Wigan by Francis Garfitt. You will like it even if you’re not interested in the religious side of it. ❤

Update: May 20, 2016. I edited the original script and added a few words. Still, that is not the ‘update’ that I meant. It will then look like a review of the book.)

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

🙂

  • 🙂 I have your book today, in paper. I don’t know when I can finish it considering that I’m not supposed to do anything else besides looking for certain things in books for a year at least, but actually I’m now on John’s first baptism. I’m liking John and I can easily connect him with that John in the desert, both with passions of that intensity. But how I wish I knew more of European economy/history so that I could get more laughs out of your quirky statements — I mean, I had my first big laugh at page (though unnumbered) 3 of Introduction and I anticipate that there are lots like it in this your thickish book. Though I think I just go open some more of your book for reasons other than greed for knowledge, otherwise things will just not get right with me. One has to be ready for the things that you say in here 🙂 . What made me confident enough to get a copy was that a few days ago I finally had a gut feeling of what evil is. The subject of evil isn’t an attractive material for me and so I haven’t read up on the academic discussions on it, nor am I interested in the macabre in popular media. But recently, in a flash, I realized that I understood that evil is the attempt to choke/snuff out/strangle life, to negate life. Something happened to me and I felt like I was going to be annihilated, something is trying to deny my essence, and if I let it be I would end up a living dead, a nothing — and so it dawned on me that this, then, is what evil is. I decided to find a way to stay alive despite the presence of this thing that would callously wipe me off from existence if I let it. So I thought that a retelling of Jesus’ story like the way you’re doing is worth looking into, with the horrors of modern metropolitan living, and they shouldn’t disturb me as much anymore due to my newly found knowledge (haha looks like this leads me further into my “knowledge-of-good-and-evil” musings…). I’m wary like this because I’m not familiar with big city living, and the little that I’ve experienced of it I didn’t really like… but I do like the way you explain the will to power … I agree with what you say in there … and I can’t help wanting to catch your words at each right-hand page because they look like they might fall off any time — this was the first big laugh, actually 🙂 THANK YOU for your great effort in this book. May many people come to read it.

     

  • Dear Sacadalang,

    thank you so much for the comment and for buying a copy of my book. I’m glad you are liking John. He is based on a guy that I met whilst doing some voluntary work. He was working as an ‘enlightened witness’ with other ex-prisoners and this idea of a ‘witness of the light’ kept bringing me back to him whenever I tried to visualise John the Baptist. I was genuinely humbled to meet him. I only met him once, but maybe that is how life is.

    I think that your gut feeling of what evil is, is important. George Macdonald wrote of the shadow inside us all in his book Phantastes, a fairy story for adults. In it he wrote that the affirmation of evil is the negation of all else. So take care of yourself, negation is anti-hope, the anti-social anti-value that builds on feelings of isolation, then anger, then destruction… either of self or others. In the same way that the key to madness is personal to each of us, so is the path to oneness. I love your blogs, their enthusiasm and infectious joy. I don’t know all the films and TV shows you mention, but what I enjoy is learning why you enjoy them. So keep it up, we are all part of the pattern.

    It took me 7 years to write the book, and I always felt that if it touched one person then that was worth it, that whatever I was doing meant something more than just another writer with another book. Sometimes I felt like giving it up as a bad job, and even now I’m not happy with it, I can see the flaws, particularly in grammar. So thank you once again for taking the time to read it.

    kind regards

    Fran

     

  • Dear Fran,
    thank you for replying, for the reply, for Phantastes, for John, and for the encouragement — yep, I have a good idea now about the self-destruction and the wanting-to-quit parts, thanks to my experiences — ach, the grammar, well, grammar does not rule so to say … all I know is that I’m reading a genuine specimen of contemporary British English and for me that’s good enough 🙂
    -wishing-you-a-nice-week-
    ang sacada lang

     

    ❤ ——————- ❤

    ( 4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy with a difference 8 Aug 2013  /  By Viv M)
    I found this book shocking at times and unlike any other “religious” book I’ve ever read. It is an imaginative modern interpretation of the gospel story. I enjoyed the references to Wigan, and there is plenty of humour. It’s a retelling of history with complex twists.
    ❤ ——————- ❤
    4.0 out of 5 stars Are you on the path? 4 Aug 2013  /  By Mark S If you are trying to find a path to faith this book will help. The authors take on the New Testament and the disciples of Jesus provide some great reflective moments for the reader, which disciple are you? The author’s link to modern day diseases, such as the craving for power and certainty, provide an interesting view of the New Testament story and highlight how shallow our modern day lives have become. Our constant desire for instant gratification and oneupmanship are clearly exposed in this insightful work.

    A great read and it really challenged my thoughts. This book has really helped me to think more clearly about what Jesus was really trying to achieve. I don’t agree with all of the authors views but the thought provoking nature helped me to further understand the Bible itself. Well done a great first book.

     

 

revisiting Tolkien’s . 1

Revisiting Tolkien’s world. Part 1. Reflections on some quotes from the start of The Fellowship of the Ring movie adaptation. [The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien]

one ring to rule them all

one ring to rule them all

but the power of the ring could not be undone
Whatever we do about it, whatever good the intention is, however excellent the effort is, it is not for us humans to be able to vanquish evil. Evil is part of the present, it is here, and for all those who will be born in the world that is just the continuation to ours, to the now, evil is there, too. But there is a capability that can vanquish this phenomenon and together with its coming to pass is the manifestation of humility in all of us. We all will be humbled that there is a Something beyond ourselves that could accomplish what our best efforts and intentions cannot.


the ring has a will of its own
Evil is a thriving phenomenon. It feeds on the will to power and it finds ways to manifest itself. When one sees evil one shouldn’t be surprised, because all things where we are now have a potential to evil.


some things that should not have been forgotten were lost …history became legend, legend became myth
Man did not just suddenly become smart because of the Enlightenment. Man has always been smart. He has always been highly intelligent, highly sensitive highly intuitive. There were things that he had already ascertained but which the subsequent generations would relegate to something “bygone”, hence obsolete, hence inapplicable, hence just stuff that stories are made of. Just myth and legend. Like the reverence for integral-man/soul and the numinous. What we overlook is the fact that scientists operate on the basis of theories and conjectures. Scientists have to start with faith. We are all standing on “nothing”, we are suspended on almost empty space, near vacuum, and are held in place by forces that are not obvious to our senses. We are contained within a sphere wherein we could thrive as if by “magic”. Only a minute part of the phenomenon of our existence has become describable to us, and in our exclusive terms at that, yet our discussions delude us into believing that we are now capable of talking about everything there is. Of course our scientific estimations have always come back to us as sound, precise, reliable, but that’s only applicable within the sphere we move and operate. We talk of clusters of galaxies when the actual space we have physically reached is only the boundaries of our single puny star system, only one of the gazillion that we project there is. Our existence is as ephemeral as the woodland faeries of lore.


for the hearts of men are easily corrupted
What more can I say to this? I can simply agree.

nine rings for the kings of men

nine rings for the kings of men . Introducing: the 9 who become the Nazgul, ring wraiths, slaves to the evil will & are neither living nor dead


nine rings were gifted to the race of men who above all else desire power
My first reaction has to be on the term race. I have read somewhere that this term is now deemed invalid for the fact that there are no genetic bases for classifying the Homo sapiens sapiens into subcategories in which outer manifestations are skin and hair color. There are no notable differences in the genetic make-up of one race of humans from another, and so this way of categorizing does not make sense, unless we insist that the white-skinned is better than the brown-skinned, that the lanky-bodied are better than the bulky-bodied, that blondes are better than jet-blacks. If we insist on putting subcategories in this manner then we might as well call these as distinct species, which brings in the next point: in what sense can we say that one species of a plant is “better” than the next? In what sense do we speak of inferiority vis-a-vis superiority? Can we honestly say, even, that a child who has Down Syndrome “inferior” to a child who has not? Hence, the talk of race among humans is an uninformed discussion, invalid.

a Milky Way representation from i.space.com

a Milky Way representation, from i.space.com. The Sun, situated at the periphery, is not distinctive, and is just one of the 200+ billion stars comprising this galaxy.

“men who above all else desire power” —  if it were not so then there wouldn’t be so much resources wasted on election campaigns 😛 … there wouldn’t be so much hoopla over show business, over the fashion industry, over lifestyle management, over the science for packaging, over the small and big things that affect mostly the “small ones” in the society, those who cannot afford yearly vacations, those who are hurt by the heavy taxes on almost anything, those who are blamed of having succumbed to the tiresomeness of the daily city grind, those whom society disgusts for not having enough will power to keep on a “prosperous” way of life… Modern society thrives on aggression, it favors the aggressive, and it shames those who wish to just have enough to live by. We hoard as if nothing will rot. We acquire as if we can use these all up. But we only create a disastrous imbalance. Our demand to have more deprives many, at the other side of the globe, at the side of the world invisible to us, hidden behind sweat shops and fancy talks of wage raises. Does earth, by attracting more space materials to itself and thus making it more massive, add to the security of its orbiting around the sun? Does the sun have to do anything so that it remains secured within the outer rim of the Milky Way? Does the Milky Way have to do something so that it does not get thrown off from its local cluster of galaxies?


for within these rings were bound the strength and will to govern each race but they were all of them deceived
The capability to move things, events, people is a hallucinogen that amplifies our narcissistic tendencies. That’s why Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn are simply awesome characters. They are aware of how the ring can corrupt them by working through their good intentions for all residents of Middle-Earth. This awareness has humbled them and has led them to choose the supporting role to Frodo and the hobbits — the simple folks who, as Bilbo comprehensively describes his kin, are reputed to foremost love food but actually hold peace and quiet closest to their heart.

hobbits' reputed passion for food

hobbits’ reputed passion for food.
The groom quickly munches a muffin he has grabbed from a passing by tray, forgetting to kiss his bride.

hobbit market

a hobbit market

all hobbits share a love for things that grow

all hobbits share a love for things that grow ❤ Introducing: Samwise Gamgee.

A Letter To Michael Berg, From An Ignorant Blabbermouth

Then what am I supposed to do with your story, Michael Berg?

You don’t blame Hanna for loving you. You do not blame yourself for loving Hanna. What, then, am I to make of your sad love story? Okay, so it wasn’t wrong for her to love you, 21 years her junior. But of course only a very few will agree with you. Look at that survivor who described her as having been brutal to you. But you said so yourself that the only love we are not responsible for is the one we have for our parents. I’m glad that it came from your own mouth.

The Reader _front cover

click to enlarge

I hurt for you as I listen to you talk to me in your telling of your story. A fifty-year-old professional coming to grips with an emotion he first experienced for a woman 35 years ago sure speaks something for the love a man has for a woman. Dreaming of her, associating her with the feeling of coming home, describes an attachment stronger than a mere adolescent crush, or even passion.

Michael, for all your words, I really would have loved to hear something from Hanna Schmitz. I wish you were older when you met her then perhaps you would have seen more, have understood more. I feel like if only you didn’t keep your age a secret from her then she would have driven you off, out of her life for good, even if you’ve already been lovers for a week. But even then many people would still want to say that a full grown woman seducing a seventeen-year-old is just as immoral.

Again, what do I really know of Hanna to even suggest that she was immoral in her relationship with you? In what way did she benefit if indeed it’s true that she used you? For all you know the fact that you have become happy lovers has brought her an equal amount of sadness, too.

However, what does her relationship with you have to do with her being on that court trial, and you meddling with her life afterwards? You were not supposed to know anything about her in the first place. Michael, she would have continued on with her silent life had she not heard from you again. Why the hell did you have to send her those tapes? And then not even telling her of how happy you were to receive a note from her when it was obvious that you, of all people, were the one whom she wanted most to be happy with and for her? Would you be excused when it would be said that you had no idea anymore whatsoever if she still loved you in the way you knew she did? But my goodness, Michael Berg, you were microscopic in deciphering the amount of effort she put into that note she sent to you. Didn’t that give an indication of her reaching out to you?

Numbness. Numbness. You always give numbness as the excuse. If a Corrie ten Boom is possible then why couldn’t it work out with you for the sake of the great love you had for her?

Ach, but it’s all over now. I’m ranting needlessly. Like the prison governor I can only feel anger towards the both of you — to you for being a hypocrite about your love for her, to her for not having the strength to deny you, not then, not while she was in prison, and not even when she was about to have a new life. That woman who spoke so callously about Hanna did not realize that you, Michael Berg, have also been brutal to Hanna.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

You say that the generation before you failed in confronting evil. You are the same as them. You just kept on protecting yourself. Even when you discovered what made Hanna the way she is, still you didn’t clear it up with her. Compare your level of literacy with hers. Compare her access to “enlightened” discussions with yours. Why couldn’t you have found the way to come up to her and inform her of her accountability for leaving you brokenhearted? I’m sure you’ve heard of something like with-greater-knowledge-comes-greater-responsibility from somewhere.

Just like the way she asked the judge, what else could she have done when she already knew that the boy she fell in love with was growing up without her, and fast? She knew she didn’t belong to your world. Why would she hamper your growth? That, then, would have been brutal. She actually did you a great service, by disappearing from your life.

Haven’t you heard from somewhere, too, that once you start something you have to take responsibility for it? You led Hanna on by giving her false hope. You made it seem like you have forgiven her for leaving you. You made it seem like you understood her for having ended up in that court. In your having reached adulthood didn’t it occur to you that it was your innocence that attracted her to you? That with you she found a picture of what she would have liked to be had fate been different for her? We do not even have an idea why she became like that in the first place, or why she didn’t take the effort to remedy it for all the earth time she was in existence before she met you.

If you said that coming to visit her was like coming home, then couldn’t you visit her again? Cutting your ties with her is denying your existence, too. If you don’t blame anyone for all that’s happened then perhaps a celebration of your love for each other could awaken from your frozen heart.

Viktor Frankl, too, came from Auschwitz. He saw among his companions the same phenomenon that happened to Hanna, i.e., that the feeling that nobody out there is eager for one’s well-being hastens one’s non-existence.

The Reader _read allI do not know what to say of your story, Michael Berg. Since Hanna did not talk to you, since she didn’t compose narratives, and since she doesn’t even have a collection of songs you’d have an idea she likes then how can we speak of a person’s choices to whom a world of letters cannot speak to? Did you even wonder what made it an imperative for her to guard over her dignity? Can you even begin to imagine the depravities she had to survive and rise from just so that one day she’d be able to make little dance steps in front of the man she loves? You know what, Michael, with your renewed readings to her you pried open her armor and then you left her exposed to the elements.

Maybe we can just say that it’s the price she had to pay for not knowing what to do then. But what can one do when one doesn’t even know that one is supposed to know? How can one guard oneself from the ignorance of ignorance? When you pried open her armor she was beginning to forgive herself. She was learning to face the condemnations. She was having her spring.

What saddens me, Michael, is that it’s possible for X to stand in judgment over Y whom X knows loves X, while all the while denying that a judgment had been passed.

I rest my case, or whatever it’s called.


This narrative is a reaction to Bernhard Schlink’s 1997 novel The Reader.