Monthly Archives: June 2018

J.D. Salinger and Me

The Catcher in the Rye and If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Salinger vs. Paciorek –

A quote from George Bernard Shaw, “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask, why? I dream of things that never were, and ask, why not?” I paraphrase, “There are those who look at the awful-things that do appear, and wonder, why? But I envision the goods things that have not yet appeared, and wonder, WHY-Not?”

In an attempt to promote my new Book, I have found an uncommon ally, or possibly a reluctant one (if he were still alive – died in 2010). Although not altogether essays on Baseball, both books imply much that has Baseball’s signature of approval.

Although I have an affinity for appreciating talented artistic, scientific, and literary minds as I come across their works, I don’t count myself as any other than a dilettante in any of the aforementioned-fields, except maybe the Art and Science of Baseball. Throughout my life I’m sure that I heard mention of J.D. Salinger, and a book entitled, The Catcher in The Rye, but didn’t pay attention as to the relevancy of either.

It was only after I had written my last Book (one of three self-published), that I happened to be watching a movie on TV called Rebel in the Rye. As I watched and heard the story of Jerome, David Salinger, I was amazed to feel such affinity toward the author and what he wanted to accomplish in his writing but couldn’t because of all the external distractions he was experiencing in present reality as well as from war-time reminiscences. So, at my computer I looked up all I could about him.

After watching and reading about the life of J.D. Salinger and his ultimate frustration with the life and circumstances he depicted of his alter-ego, 17- year-old Holden Caulfield, it became clear to me that he was not necessarily angry at individuals, himself, his popularity, nor with the wealth he was accumulating from his vast following of readers who were able to find a deep connection with the characters he vividly portrayed. Multi-Millions of books were sold in his lifetime and beyond of his ultimate best-selling Novel, The Catcher in The Rye. But, he came to disdain the attention he was given by the populous. He indirectly blamed his popularity for his inability to attain the inspiration to resolve the problems his astute and insightful apprehension and comprehension of circumstances creating chaos in the world had on the individuals comprising that world.

J.D. Salinger is acknowledged and rightly accredited with having become an influential writer motivated to initiate a new wave of literary accountability in portraying accurately all the absurdities that he had observed and experienced in both Times of War and Peace. But, his inane attempts to distill a universal resolution to the atrocities that occur in both war and peace via his vivid depictions of variable human temperament, along within the gamut of seemingly natural mortal tendencies, were futile. His futility at reconciling personal emotional disparities exacerbated his own frustration and finally led him to acquiesce to the presumptive fact that universal peace was not possible, and therefore personal peace was unattainable as well – at least not within the distracting confines of the “Human-Community.”

It surprises me that a book published in 1951 is still popular today even though it perpetuates Salinger’s own eternal frustration that the world just can’t seem to find Peace, either at Home or Abroad, “within, or without ‘self’.” It seems ironic that Salinger’s attempts at finding “inner-peace” from yoga and other Oriental philosophies and metaphysical practices so that he could find inspiration to better write, failed miserably at espousing a simple contrite sense of “forgiveness.” The only facsimile of peace he finally attained, until his “passing” at age 91, was in his portentous discontinuance of publishing any future written works. From the mid-1960s, he merely wrote for the simple-satisfaction of quietly expressing his elusive inner-being through writing.

However noble and self-effacing that may have been, it seems too self-ingenuous to have preferred a solitary life of self-indulgence without offering his self-analysis to the benevolence of others. But perhaps his final rest did not afford the opportunity to divulge the contents of his self-examination.

It makes me to wonder if, at the time of his “peaceful-passing,” he might have thought to himself, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Could I Have Made A More Significant Contribution? And, did my isolationistic stance merely neutralize my passionate and energetic enterprise of advancing toward a meaningful extrapolation of Truth?” I don’t profess to be the accomplished writer that J.D. Salinger was, but I have proposed a story that offers a more tenable solution to the problems whose prevailing circumstances have confronted “mankind” from before 1951, and for which Salinger’s altruistic interventions had displayed only the futility of lost causes.

His self-examination through philosophy and metaphysics most certainly would have been a pragmatic step to finding the inner-peace for the “individual” to help expand the “collective” reasoning with the ultimate hope for “universal” Peace. But, he did not delve deeply enough into the inner working of the power of his own individual mind and its vibrational relationship with its Source to divulge what it meant to “seek first (from) the Kingdom of Heaven” and let all Its tributaries be blessed in consequence.

He would have discerned that the problems of the world cannot be solved without first resolving the conflicts within the individual unit of life (“Peace begins with ME!”). From a macro-cellular perspective, that begins with care and consideration of one cell for another within all cellular networks within the Cellular System, within the Organism (World) of the Body.

Analogous to the World is the Body. Each, and every cell is an equal representative of the Body (World) and is integral to the health and welfare of that entire Body. Therefore, in any deviant situation, correct the malfeasance of the body by counter-balancing the cellular disorder, and the Body (World) returns to its natural state of well-being.

The governing force that regulates the cellular system of caring for the body is the Central Facility of the Brain, to which Intelligent programing from Mind directly stimulates productive activity within each cellular network to promote health. The mental agency delivers, via vibrational frequency, the High vibrational impulses of thought to energize the cells with the nutrients of good-feeling thought-impulses from which all cells remain in balance to make the body-parts strong, flexible, and compatible.

Any more said on this subject would distract from the simple visual effect my own Book would have on the readers who might prefer the simplified motif of a Baseball Field with which to churn their hearts with excitement at the “Old Ball Game.” – But, “That which is seen is not made from things that do appear.”

My Book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, is more than a novel-rendering of a relatively short story (yet 414 pages) about a teenage athlete who within a short span just beyond 17 years had climbed to a pinnacle of notable (aspirational) success in his debut performance as a Major League Baseball player. Nor is it a mere reconnoitering of prior or subsequent events that may have contributed to circumstances which led to crises that affected a promising Major League Career.

Rather, my Book is a portrayal of a young man (in formative years) whose childhood was offered an innocent and nurturing modest household, yet without the accoutrements recommended to establish inherent aspirations toward any goal other than becoming a professional athlete. He disdained any fondness for academic acumen because his formative years in a Parochial-Educational community were fraught with fear and debility.

As a professional Ball-Player, his initial monumental success proved short-lived by an unprecedented set of circumstances. Although his hopeful worldly ambition would diminish, his active dream persisted until he was virtually assured that his consistently practiced thought could and would produce his own expanded Vibrational Reality. And instead of submitting to any mortal mental and physical incapacity, my protagonist was guided by three wise and prominent “mentors” into a new realm of Baseball “Expeditiousness.”

Unlike Salinger’s pension for expressing what he thought and felt was a truthful rendition of life from the standpoint of relative-practicality, not yet acquiring an aptitude for discerning metaphysical accommodation to present reality, I, instead, feel that any good story should be an attempt, by an imaginative writer, to fulfill an enriching purpose—not merely telling of life that may seem true, but rather, desiring to portray what his mind envisions as a creative reenactment of life on a grander scale than had been previously displayed to the eyes of mortal consciousness. Thus bringing to account a more absolute interpretation and significance of the New Testament quote attributed to Jesus: “The light of the Body is the eye. If thine eye be single, the whole body shall be full of light. If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. IF THE LIGHT THAT BE IN THEE BE DARKNESS, HOW GREAT IS THAT DARKNESS? “

Light and Truth are commonly interwoven as enveloping the same essence, as in the light of truth. When Pontius Pilate posed his famous, “What is Truth?” his relative sense of truth could only discern what the truth of a condition, situation, or circumstance meant as it seemed reasonable to him according to his physical senses, at present. His question was a response to Jesus’ affirmation that he was born “to bear witness to Truth.” According to Pilate, Jesus’ condition, situation, and circumstance presented the idea of Truth as nothing less than deplorable, even evil! Pilate must have asked himself, “is this the truth to which  this man was born to bear witness?”

Most Christians accurately assume that Jesus’ life was an example for which all mankind would delight  in following, as closely as they could understand how, by doing so, their “burdens would be light.”  But they inaccurately presume  that Jesus himself would “lighten their loads.” His mandate was, to “Go and do likewise”! They also must “bear witness” to Truth! Was it the truth that Pilate implied in the relative practicality of what sense testimony promoted and provided? Or was it something beyond the mortal vision of scattered perception that entailed the single-minded focus of infinite, eternal GOOD?

As Salinger was, in his day, the vanguard of literary innovation, I ascribe to a new purpose, of which might be to inspire, in the mind of every reader, the recognition that hope-lost can always be revived in the childlike imagination of those individuals not yet adulterated, nor easily discouraged, by the ravages of tragedy or disappointment. If one is hanging on from the lowest rung of a suspended ladder, where else would he go but up? But more than out of sheer necessity, he/she can climb with joy the “heights of mind” and rest one’s volatile emotions, or mutable human circumstances, in the tranquil state of a consistently inspired “good-feeling” dream.

An endless search for a lifetime of peaceful coexistence with self and the world, we (J.D. {Holden}, and I) would have co-conspired to create and establish. A joyous earthly living experience might still be realized (by/for me), and perhaps in a setting not unfamiliar to “our” present mental-habitations and current perspectives (mine for me; his for him)! Maybe Holden Caulfield would be a changed man by the age of 73 … and his beloved Allie would have already returned with his “mitt” to prospect any of the myriad “Elysian Fields.”

*Footnote:

A person is frustrated by what he sees as his own “best-efforts” resulting in failure or having no promise of ultimate success. Without any slight-sense of hope, he will find no recourse but to surreptitiously end his mortal existence or somehow justify blaming the “innocent and moderately-successful” and derive an “extremist’s” satisfaction in precluding their modest entrepreneurial aspirations.

He is devoid of a reasonable acclamation of Wisdom’s recognition that, “Of mine own self, I can do nothing,” or, “a severed branch cannot be nurtured by the substance of the Vine.” And finally, he understands not, “That which is seen is not made of that which doth appear,” so that, when he prays (asks – desires, or wants), he does not “KNOW” that he has already received in Heaven, so, by his “unknowing,” he cannot receive it in Earth!

The solution always goes hand over hand with the problem. So, the resolution of the problem is in the application of the healing components of the solution. The instant you KNOW what you don’t want, your “sup”-conscious-self automatically desires (prays, wants) the opposite, for purpose of “feeling-good.”

But the question most often thought and asked is, “How can I expect to receive that for which I desire or want?” Most practically-minded mortals would surmise they would either work hard for or steal it. Very few might recognize and apply a metaphysical strategy of “practicing the thought of the thing he/she desires” until that thought, reinforced in replication, would “turn into the thing(s)” desired – thus the application of Faith to the belief that, “Things that are seen are not made of/from things that do appear,” but by the vibrational essence of that which has been prepared in Heaven by the desires initiated in Earth.

As a temporary aspirant to Christian Science, Salinger must not have taken advantage of, or practically applied, Mary Baker Eddy’s principle, “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your (thinking).” How much more scientific can words be than, “For this purpose was I born; of this Cause came I into the world, that I should ‘bear witness to the Truth,” – Of Goodness! – “I am in the world; but I am not of the world.” Those words are from him who wanted all to apply them to their lives as he applied them to his.

**Footnote:

Faith and Truth are no longer “terms of endearment” unless they be alchemized to a higher level of meaningful accommodation: You shall know the Truth… – of/in What? I have or practice Faith! – In What? To what Truth is my mind’s body “bearing witness” when it is sick, diseased, and dying? And, in what does my mind have Faith that it would accommodate my body with the horrors of the aforementioned?

When Pontius Pilate submitted his cynical inquiry, “What is Truth?” he was deliberating how anyone could conclude a meaningful answer from Earth’s Relative perspective. Only in Heaven is found Absolute Truth. But in Earth all truth is relative to one’s experience of Goodness in his/her condition, situation, or circumstance.

The only truth to any condition, situation, or circumstance is the goodness derived from what is presented as apparently benign or “contrasting.” For a mind to “bear witness to Truth’s Goodness” as it pertains to its body, it must submit to that Faith which is the substance of “things hoped for” and the “evidence of that which is not seen,” in the Goodness of All and the All-ness of Good. I would that my body “bear witness” to my mind’s Faith in Truth’s Goodness!

“Contrast” exposes to a potential beneficiary the desire for a complete opposite of that to which he has been indignantly imposed upon. Everyone in Earth is in his/her “right-place,” continuously being exposed to Earth’s “contrast,” from which he/she will gradually enhance understanding of experience, and incrementally expand beyond each present circumstance to a higher level of thought which will always precede a new challenge from which to advance even higher in the “line upon line” of/to “perfect being.”

***Footnote:

J.D. Salinger non-intrusively implied with his, “Fiction is more truthful than reality,” what Albert Einstein had more explicitly confirmed with his, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” To Salinger’s ever-expanding state of mortal-consciousness, he was able to discern faintly what Einstein’s own imagination had revealed to himself prior to promulgating his theory of Relativity.
Had J.D. taken more to heart what his mentor (Burnett) innately felt, “imagine a story you’d want to read, then write it,” he could have proposed a scenario where a joy-filled conclusion to life could have been naturally/incrementally realized. Whether it was his Jewish heritage that prevented an optimistic approach to anticipating a happy ending to anything, or the predominant experiences of his own life that gave no evidence of Divine order, even his predisposed feelings about childlike innocence took a hit when he felt betrayed by a young student’s “innocent” prevarication. But, where else could imagination be better illustrated than in that childlike state only from which Heaven can be found (as expounded upon by a formidable, former Hebrew scholar Two-Millennia before)?

Salinger “missed the boat” completely when, in the beginning stages of his “seclusion,” he paid little or no attention to his own offspring from whom he would have been beneficiary to an unfathomable range of Heavenly insight. Instead, he carried out a family tradition and heritage which only further alienated him from the innocence he longed to incorporate in his writing. His silent “Passing” at age 91 is some indication that his reclusive 45 years must have refined his thinking to a point attractive to Peaceful departure. But unless we become privy to his written documentation of literary inspiration, we can only speculate as to the inner working of his life’s content.

J.D. Salinger is rightly considered a great American author, for his passionate, innovative style enlightened publishers, other writers, and readers about new prospects for the further enhancement of the human condition individually, collectively, and universally. But his imagination fell short of capturing the essence of the more benevolent attributes of imagined thought espoused by Einstein, Socrates, Plato, and Jesus who fostered an all-inclusive approach by signature of, “Know Thy Self” – A Self beyond self! For, “of mine own self, I can do nothing.” How else would anyone proclaim it best to, “Do nothing, yet leave nothing undone”! – Lao Tzu

As the last chapter of my Book properly concludes my Story, the following excerpt initiates the culminating effect of eternal hope:
If the darkest hour always precedes the dawning of the new light, then when its brilliance comes to full effulgence, does it not seem reasonable to presume that one’s finest hour should prefigure some form of impending gloom? Could greatness be sustained within the grasp of hubris? As I pondered the ramifications of greatness, I remembered Socrates reading a short essay by J. F. P. It read as follows:
Greatness is a humanly exaggerated or a spiritually magnified sense of being. To be extolled with greatness, one must step up above one’s peers, beyond the casualness of conformity, into the altitude of “Uniqueness,” wherein the atmosphere of Soul the inspiration of life a lesser man cannot inhale. The greatest man that ever walked the earth was once asked by his disciples, “Who is the greatest among us?” At one time, he told them that “. . . of a man born of a woman, none was greater than John the Baptist. Albeit, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Later, he answered by taking a little child and placing him/her in their midst and saying, “. . . of such is the kingdom of heaven. He who would be greatest among you, let him humble himself and become as a little child.” – “You must be ‘born again,'” not of water, but of the Holy Spirit (Inspiration)!

My Story, although parallel in many ways to Salinger’s, has not yet ended, but Hope’s fruition is accented in my…
POSTSCRIPT:

It might seem unfortunate that it had to take more than fifty years to accrue life’s valuable lessons and then presume little time remaining to take advantage of the wisdom that would certainly be found to give beneficial service to the days of youth. However, since Life’s secrets spring eternally from beyond the darkness, moment by moment, they can always be discovered and discerned. Then, they can be applied to any currently resistant thought, condition, situation, or circumstance—provided their principle is found to be acceptable and provable to any mind’s faithful pursuit and patient but eager resolve.
Neither age nor time is an essential factor. Some will reap immediately where others have already suffered or sown! And as it may appear that one’s finest hour might precipitate—at least—a temporary sense of darkness, so also the darkest hour simply and inevitably precedes the dawn. “Sufficient unto the day” . . . is how Jesus would refer to it! The Phoenix again rises from its own ashes!

Read my Book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now!