Sunday, January 21, 2007


Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?

-Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

So far, there are only two books of Richard Bach which I’ve read: Illusions, which explored the solipsist worldview, and One, which talked about a modified pantheist belief. Big stuffy words to describe them, I know, but he creates the simpler stories I’ve come across using the simplest words. A more familiar work of his is Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which was about an existential seagull who gets bored of his seagull life. I haven’t read it, but I’d rather watch it---the film version was released in 1973, winning a Golden Globe Award for its musical score.

But I digress. Illusions is about a Messiah who cures the sick, predicts the future, shares wisdom to the millions, and pilots a biplane. Oh, and he’s also a solipsist. He meets a nondescript loner, Richard (the author), who also flies a biplane for a living. The Messiah got tired of the limelight, so he left his followers (disciples? Fans?) to fly aimlessly until he gets together with Richard who found it convenient to stay with him: initially, because having a Messiah for a buddy has its miraculous perks, but later on, to learn.

The guy who lent me the book said it was ‘inspirational’. But the book only told me what I already believed: I create my reality, and I am at the center of it. I guess it would be inspirational if I believed otherwise, because it would be a whole new idea to explore---truth as a relative thing created by each individual according to his or her phenomenal world. Illusions, for me, is a philosophical novel. The story is secondary to the philosophy.

One is about a married couple who got involved in a one-to-a-trillion accident: they entered a dimension where they can observe the grand pattern of life. This pattern is submerged under a shallow, endless ocean, following the figure 8: infinity. The couple, (the author and his wife, Leslie) flies their seaplane onto a spot in the pattern, and they get into an alternate world, meeting their alternate selves. They do this a lot of times. Soon enough they discover that everything and everyone is one, that we are all a manifestation of a single consciousness, that while everyone has a predestined path, there are infinite choices leading to and away from it. More like a vein and the capillaries branching away from it, or like a highway and the roads and streets and alleys we can take.

I was walking home carrying a bag of sotanghon just this afternoon, when I thought: isn’t Illusions connected significantly with One? Pantheism is solipsism taken to another level: solipsism---I alone exist---pantheism---there is only one thing that exists, and that’s you and everyone else as a manifestation of it. Bach calls it consciousness, Plato calls it the world of Ideas, Spinoza calls it God.

I'm not saying all of this is truth; hardly. But I like to think (note: not believe in) about things like this, because it lets me put some things into perspective. Like, why i like listening to Hale, and why I like inebriating myself with shit such as The Buzz or Bakekang. That's another story.


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