Kurt Vonnegut is no more.
Now why tag that as “World Affairs”, you may ask.
Because he was one of those who cared for the world. The whole of the world, the whole amazing morass of Karass, if you will.
“Oy! What is Karass?” you ask.
To understand Karass, is to understand Karma.
To quote from his book Cats Cradle “We Bokonists believe that humanity is organized into teams, teams that do God’s Will without ever discovering what they are doing.”…” “If you find your life tangled up with somebody else’s life for no very logical reasons, that person may be a member of your karass.”
I was part of Kurt’s Karass. But how was he to know. The Bokonist understanding of Karass was limited to synchronous, wired, space-time related existence….Karass is not limited by these. And neither are we. . Karass is plural, for one thing…like “I” is plural as well (in Karass terminology)…And Karass are many-to-many (in system modelling terminology)…The Bokonists insight into Karass was a keyhole view at best….I will try and explain to Kurt when he is reborn in India.
But then he may not like to be born a man. As he said in Hocus Pocus “I wish we had all been born birds instead.”
And why not as humans?
Because, “Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas”, writes he, in ‘Cold Turkey’.
He pens in ‘A Man without a country’ – “If God were alive today, he would have to be an atheist, because the excrement has hit the air-conditioning big time, big time.”
In an appearance on The Daily Show in 2005, he said “…I have wanted to give Iraq a lesson in democracy—because we’re experienced with it, you know. And, in democracy, after a hundred years, you have to let your slaves go. And, after a hundred and fifty years, you have to let your women vote. And, at the beginning of democracy, is that quite a bit of genocide and ethnic cleansing is quite okay. And that’s what’s going on now.”
And if you are still skeptical about tagging Kurt-speak under World Affairs, then do please check these two statements of Kurt….
“George W. Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography. “ (‘A Man Without A country”)
And this one….
“There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president. “ (‘Cold Turkey’)
Now that should have sealed the case…His views on ‘World Affairs’ are pure crystal….
Kurt was a great writer…Ever so many of us have seen and felt the WW II bombing of Dresden thanks to the picture that Kurt painted….But what made Kurt greater than just a ‘great writer’ was that his were the words of an evolved person…A great humanist, if you will….And here is what the ‘humanist’ advocates to us – “Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.” (In Cats cradle)”….and…..”We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” (In ‘Mother Night’)..
Kurt’s karass and mine met many years ago…But Kurt has slipped out of his karass now. He fell in his Manhattan home and died of brain injuries on April 11th, says one news item….
So how should we remember his end?
Here are a few quotes from different windows of his karass.
“My last words? ‘Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse’ ” (In, ‘love you Madame Librarian’)
“My epitaph in any case? ‘Everything was beautiful. Nothing hurt’ I will have gotten off so light, whatever the heck it is that was going on.” (In ‘God Bless you Dr Kevorkian’)
I like this one best though….
“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC”……(Vonnegut’s Blues For America, January, 2006 Sunday Herald)
Let the music play on. For those are not just books that Kurt has given the world. He has given symphonies….
(Note: More Vonnegut symphony notes can be enjoyed at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Kurt_Vonnegut )