Wednesday, December 03, 2014

ancient sects

when I was studying at University, I lived in a student apartment with shared corridor, shower and kitchen. in another room lived a young Italian man, a classically trained musician, with whom I had deep discussions about music, mathematics and mysticism. I was studying the history of ideas. it was almost as if he couldn't help letting some things slip, but then he never answered follow-up questions. I wondered if he was just winding me up. but the things he could say wasn't stuff you just make up. and the light in his eyes was not, couldn't have been, acted. i had to act patient and hope that he would give up more information by himself, that he would reveal a little more.

later I read a novel by Patricia Duncker, The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge, and I was reminded of our discussions. and my suspicions.
the novel is about the investigation of what everyone thinks is a suicide sect. the protagonist learns it is an ancient sect known as the Faith, and the members are highly placed in society. The chief government adviser on the environment and global warming in the Swiss department, scientists at the nuclear research station at Grenoble, the Director of Research in Astrophysics, such people. and it's not originally a suicide sect although members have started to commit suicide. and the protagonist will become a lot more personally involved than she would have ever suspected.

the novel made an impression on me. it touched on a subject I've discussed with someone who used to be a fellow student. so when she committed suicide this fall, I thought of the novel again. I felt guilty, because of our past discussions, and also because of a blog post I wrote just a month or so before she did it, that was on the same subject. but I'm also comforted. I know we share the same beliefs about death. the same beliefs that the members of the Faith had in the novel by Duncker. I'm not saying I'll commit suicide, or even that I want to. I'm just saying I do not fear Death. not all who choose to die are running from something. some of them are running to something.

No comments: