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On another occasion he [Samuel Bergman] said: 'What is in store for us after we die? No-o-obody knows. At any rate with a knowledge that is susceptible of proof or demonstration. If I tell you this evening that I sometimes hear the voice of the dead and that it is much clearer and more intelligible to me than most of the voices of the living you are entitled to say that this old man is in his dotage. He has gone out of his mind with terror at his impending death. Therefore I shall not talk to you this evening about voices, this evening I shall talk mathematics: since no-o-obody knows if there is anything on the other side of our death or if there is nothing there, we can deduce from this complete ignorance that the chances that there is something there are exactly the same as the chances that there is nothing there. Fifty per cent for cessation and fifty per cent for survival. For a Jew like me, a Central European Jew from the generation of the Nazi holocaust, such odds in favour of survival are not at all bad.'
Gershom Scholem, Bergman's friend and rival, was also fascinated and possibly even tormented by the question of life after death. The morning the news of his death was broadcast, I wrote:
Gershom Scholem died in the night. And now he knows.
Bergman too knows now. So does Kafka. So do my mother and father.
And their friends and acquaintances and most of the men and women in those cafes, both those I used to tell myself stories about and those who are completely forgotten. They all know now. Some day we shall know too. And in the meantime we shall continue to gather little details. Just in case.
Amos Oz, from A Tale of Joy and Darkness
Last month we mused on Immortality and now we go a step further and take on Evolution in the “Editor’s Page”.
John Feffer compares American suicide bombers (oh yeah!) with the Islamic bad-guy version in “Current Events”.
Our “Features” section includes a speech by Michael Jackson, of all people, at Oxford, of all places. If you don’t already know it, I think you’ll be as surprised as I was. Kay Thomson reports on the situation in China involving the treatment of the Tibetans, Iftekhar Sayeed muses on the perils of arguments and Daniel Salzano, a local (Argentinean) columnist, connects the heavenly horoscope with the swine flu terror. It will tickle the ribs of those of you who understand Spanish.
In “science”, Steve Talbott continues his human genome project, and under “Fiction” we offer a story with an Argentine slant by Yours Truly and one of Jorge Luis Borges’ most enigmatic (and brilliant) pieces – the latter in Spanish with English translation.
Anthroposophy: Keith Francis delivers his fifth and final lecture on the evolution of consciousness, also three lectures by Rudolf Steiner and the continuation of his Anthroposphical Guidelines.
A review of two books by Owen Barfield show that he also wrote fiction, something of which I was unaware. We also offer a review of a beautiful book by Israel’s most famous author: Amos Oz.
In the last issue of SCR, “The Other Tiger” a poem by Borges appeared in English and Spanish. As of now the English version has had 45,240 “hits” (viewings). This is an all-time record and I can’t explain it. But it certainly supplied a strong hint to include another poem by him in this issue. Some poems by Oliver Rice bring up the rear.
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Córdoba, Argentina. Visitors always welcome. Just follow the sign that
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, Associate Editor
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On Making the Genome Whole-2
The Chromosome in Nuclear Space
Frank Thomas Smith
Jorge Luis Borges
and the Struggle for
Human Consciousness V
The Anthroposophical Movement - 1
The Homeless Souls
La Misión de la Ciencia Espiritual
y del Goetheanum
Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation
Guidelines - IX
Night Operation and Eager Spring
by Owen Barfield
A Tale of Love and Darkness
by Amos Oz
The Art of Poetry
Jorge Luis Borges
The Beach of Leftist Intellectuals
and other poems