September 09, 2002

My friend Fran sent me this message:

===========START OF FRAN�S MESSAGE===========

You made my day, my friend. Anything I write you can print, though most of it will be benign and unintellectual. Your philosophical thoughts throw me back 25 years into my first "real" philosophy class where a whole new world opened to me. The first philosophical question I asked myself (after I contemplated one hand clapping) was, "Does San Francisco really exist if I am not there?" Now that could be viewed as total self-absorption, a grandiose view of the world, but--it gave me lots of food for thought. And often when I grow quiet for my own form of meditation, the first thing that pops into mind is Plato's cave. We are all really trapped in the dark in so many ways.

Consensual view of reality--CRV. When I began to really change how I looked at the world, it came about by studying Eastern mysticism and eventually A Course in Miracles. Because each human being is programmed by experience and memory, every single thing we see and judge is subjective. For some crazy reason, this has brought me a lot of comfort and definitely has made me less judgmental in general. I am so non-confrontive by nature, however, that except in extreme circumstances, I rarely voice opinions. I'd make an absolutely crappy lawyer. Now--the exception is our president. When he said in a recent speech that we are not a super power but a super dooper power, I wrote him off 100%--and I am very vocal about this asshole.

Now death, that is another matter entirely. Though I am a believer in a higher power, I'm not positive there is a hereafter as I originally was taught to believe. I turned 65 this summer and death is more real to me now than it ever was. I have cared for and lost so many family members and friends and as a two time breast cancer survivor, I have fears that sometimes I can't quell. How I survive this ultimate fear is through my writing, my art, prayer, meditation, seeing Christ (Buddha or whoever) in the faces of others. Though I am nominally a Catholic, the religion itself which does indeed tie puppies to trees (and it's the male patriarchy that does the tying mostly), is not the pull. My belief in God and religion are two entirely separate things.

So, BLOG away, Emilio. My numb mind got to play a little this morning.

===========END OF FRAN�S MESSAGE===========

Thank you so much, Fran, for your kind and most interesting message.

The question "Does San Francisco really exist if I am not there?" is indeed fascinating. What if, as in my case, I have never been to San Francisco? Should I trust those who have been there and tell me there is such a city? The consensus is generally yes, and we believe in all kinds of things we have never seen. But some people have told us about the afterlife: mystics, people who have had near-death experiences. Why is it then that usually the afterlife is deemed to be in a different category from San Francisco: most people are sure of the latter but unsure of the former.

The fact that we have seen pictures and movies of San Francisco doesn�t help: many of us have seen pictures of planet Arrakis (in the movie �Dune�), but few believe that Arrakis does indeed exist in �reality�.

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