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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Candles in the Sun: The Quandary of the Afterlife (Option 2)

Is there a god?
Is he watching?
Is she watching?
Are they watching out?
If not, what are we doing?
Where are we going?
What are we doing now?
Look at all these people
Searching for a reason
Searching for a peace of mind...Candles in the sun blowing in the wind

The preceding lyrics personify the quandary of the afterlife as expressed by the main characters Max and Liza in the short story "The Reencounter." If made into a film, this song alone would play. Silence would be the greatest musical composition. However, as a conclusive refrain to the film this song would play as the following scene took place: "Max Greitzer took her astral arm and they began to rise without purpose, without destination. As they might have done from an airplane, they looked down at the earth and saw cities, rivers, fields, lakes-everything but human beings." (Singer 240) I imagine this song to enter first faintly and to crescendo as Max and Liza seem to float and embark on their post-life journey. These lyrics are excepts from the song "Candles in the Sun" by the recording artist Miguel in his album Kaleidoscope Dream. In this song, Miguel melodically poses his questions of life, death, and the governance of deities. He almost seems to have the same conversation as Max and Liza did in the following quote:

"What am I then? A soul?"
"The unbelievable, the absurd, the most vulgar superstitions are proving to be true," Max Greitzer said.
"Perhaps we will find there is even a Hell and a Paradise."
"Anything is possible at this point."
"Perhaps we will be summoned to the Court on High after the burial and asked to account for our deeds?"
"Please don't ask anymore questions. I know as little as you."
"Does that mean that all the philosophic works you read and wrote are dead?"
"Worse-they were sheer nonsense." (Singer 240)
Max seems to doubt what the world has told him about the adventure known as death. He does not know if there is a god or even a heaven. This parallels to "Candles in the Sun" as Miguel questions monotheism, polytheism, the purpose of man, and where we and if we end.

In class, we briefly discussed the background and perceptions of the author of "The Reencounter" Isaac Singer. Singer, a Jewish man, now believes in private mysticism. This term can be defined as the belief that "since God was completely unknown and eternally silent, He could be endowed with whatever traits one elected to hang upon Him." It seems that Max and the author are one in the same. this is especially evidenced by the following excerpt: "I don't believe this is the end," [Max] said. "Perhaps a transition between two modes of transportation...since time has no validity, duration has no meaning." (Singer 240)

Even I, a person who claims Christianity born of business people by day preachers on other occasions find the concept of religion an oddity. This short story seemed to touch a darkened crevice of my heart not tended to. A place of uncertainty. For man questions what it cannot see and what it cannot touch. Some may call me heathen for not just taking Christianity or religion and general religion. I think it is important to think critically the reasons why we believe what we believe. If this is not done, we are simply guiding blindly into something we know not of. I for one have never been one to just accept what just anyone expects me to  Are we just wondering, listless souls treading upon this earth? Are priests, nuns, rabbis, monks, and pastors simply hollow beings wearing robes speaking of things that will never come to be? Is there no paradise just restless wondering? Do we serve something that is higher or do we only serve ourselves? Is there such a thing as hope? These questions I cannot answer now. I only cling to a faith, a faith in something more. It is like a dim flame blowing in the wind not yet blown out by doubt. If what I believe comes to pass, I only pray that God can write this on the hearts of those who are also wondering so that they may find peace. 

Works Cited:

Singer, Isaac. “The Reencounter.” American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: Plume, 1996. 236-241. Print. 
Music video courtesy of Youtube

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