Monday, May 07, 2007

'on earth as it is in heaven' indeed...

Norman Mailer recently spoke about his latest book "The Castle in the Forest", a fictionalized biography of a young Adolf Hitler, a child loved by his mother who yet became history's evil incarnate as the unexplainable killer of millions.

In an interview w/Micheal Silverblatt, Mailer describes his religious beliefs which provide structure for the story:

"When George Bush speaks about 'evil', he speaks of an enormous sweeping force that we have to mass up with our own huge sweeping forces and face him, face to face and fight him down, knock him down. Let me speak about fundamentalism, because I happen to be religious, I happen to believe that God exists. I believe it because it's simpler for me to believe that there is a creator than there is not one. I was an atheist for many years and the problem I always had with it is how do we all begin, what are we all about? Here we are with our rich complicated lives, so moral, so immoral, so good, so evil, so sweet, so ugly, and all of that has come out of a couple of germs colliding with one another? It never made sense to me and so over the years I began to think that what if one were to see God as a creator; an existential God, a God who could succeed or fail, a God who has a vision. And this is a God with whom we are entwined. And I began to see Satan in the same way, as also existential. Satan doing his best (or her best, just as you'd see God as his or her), to diminish human beings, to destroy civilization, to end this creation of God's. Now, the fundamentalists are exactly opposed to all this. The fundamentalists believe that there is only one way to live and that way is found in the Old Testament and even more in the New Testament. And this was all written by God and that's all you ever need to know and to have any ideas that are outside the Old Testament and the New Testament you're in danger of heresy and evil and ugliness and so forth. So they're absolutely monotonous and uninspiring as thinkers. They are totalitarian in the extreme. I've gone so far as to say that fundamentalism could end up being the last weapon of mass destruction. In that sense, I'm opposed to that -- my little notion that God is existential. But following that out makes for a very interesting study of what the devil does and what God does in relation to us. Which is it's small acts with small people all the time. So it's as if each small personal life has their own notion of what they want to do and become and at the same time they are affected to the right and to the left (however one wants to describe it) by activities of small gods and small demons -- and there's a huge bureaucracy on either flank. Not to mention our own bureaucracies of corporate capitalism..."

so this is the sense Mailer has made out of the world in his eighty some years. is it right? what do you think? as someone once said, "there are no answers. there are only questions".