This week in The NY Times Book Review, Saul Bellow’s friend Leon Wieseltier (literary editor of The New Republic) reviews the recent publication of a selection of Saul’s letters. Here’s my selection of things from the review:
…and here I must disclose, or confess, or boast, that the volume includes also some gorgeous letters to me, written in the fullness of our friendship decades ago, when we used to worry over metaphysics and the novel as we chopped wood….the poetry of his prose, its force of consciousness, lay always in its fidelity to….the revelatory details.
Wanting to understand “the” mind—my own apparently-intrinsic philosophicality (?), literary mindedness—is integral to me.
I’m intrinsically curious, which takes me to The Edge, too readily perhaps. I play with transgression because that creatively leads to discoveries (often enough). But I’m a rigorously ethical person,
so I know I’m harmless. And I’m not afraid of falling.
All in all, I trust my intuition. Writing myself through psychological fascinations (via “life world,” etc.) ultimately into some horizonal mystery—be it eventually “literary” or not—expresses a true love, worth avowing. Meanwhile, my near-term excursion into a conceptuality of authentic happiness isn’t a compensatory symptomology. It’ll lead
(I hope) into creatively good work.
In my next life, maybe I’ll become a molecular animator.
I guess I’d need a good background in molecular biology to understand the dynamics. But look at this!
The emergence of life from proper function of complex molecules looks like a little self-contained ecology having an intrinsic intelligence.
We project or posit intelligence from proper function. Astoundingly,
life is itself.
Millions of cells make up emergent tissue, of course, and cellularly-huge volumes of tissue make up an emergent organ in a manifold organization of an emergent being who can inhabit so many days to be able to sit here and realize millions of cells….
We put obviously-gifted kids in special programs, though (but so that)
a very few will actualize their potential in some lasting way. Likewise, we must proffer and facilitate curiosity, imaginative feeling, and creativity everywhere in order for as much talent as possible to be eventually actualized in some lasting way.
Education is, at best, an extended wager of hope, good faith, and generous “reading” of the early days of others’ journeys. We simply must believe in the implicit presence of creative potential around us.
There is no better faith than this.