Physical pain and diminished capability were certainly contributors. Hemingway underwent electro-shock therapy, counseling, mood-altering (prescribed) drugs. He was on and off suicide watches. At one point, a friend had to fight him when he jammed a shell into a shotgun and put the barrel to his chin. He felt he lost his memory and he could not write any more. He had delusions and paranoia. He struggled terribly the last few years of his life. His father and several other family members had committed suicide. He wrote about it often. Much as I love Ray, the suicide was not just a result of plane crashes. Chronologies can only give a chronology -- they cannot provide the depth of what Hemingway suffered.
Nard, you've managed to strike on much of what is uplifting AND disturbing in Ray's work, and here I might even use the dreaded word "theme."
What is the "point" of this "theme"? That individuals who live long enough and think deeply enough, do, or at least can, somehow outsmart God? The lack of immortality would amount to a lack of accountability to someone who believed in a cruel, punishing God.
This attitude is strange coming from Ray, who had a brother and sister who each died at a year or two of age. What would he say to the parents of such children, who didn't live long enough to record any thoughts or to be remembered by very many people--not even school age, which eliminates classmates--a large source of memories, however incomplete or distorted! Are such lives of no account because they are not remembered by others and weren't around long enough to leave their own permanent monuments?
What about the lives of people in situations where individual thought and self-expression are severely repressed? Criminals who got away, and innocent people who were punished unjustly? The lack of immortality and an omniscient judge amounts to no Ultimate Justice!
I dont think I could say that yet.I mean I've only read one of his books but if I continue to read them and they are as good as Dandelion Wine I think sooner or later I could call him my favorite.But at the moment I am trying to get peoples opinions so I can see if I want to continue reading his books and by the way things are looking I think I will continue reading them. ;D;D;D;D
Ray's not my absolute favorite author, but he is up there! I think what I like about his stories (long and short) is that they really aren't hard to digest and, depending on the story, they make me think about other things in life. They're also very entertaining!
Ray must have read scripture, especially when he wrote the narration of the movie, ''King of Kings''. He must have had some smattering of something when he was growing up. Nothing stuck? What then!!?
When Mr. Electrico touched Ray on the shoulder and said, ''Live Forever"'...what did Ray really take that to mean?
THAT was it!! THAT is what Mr. Electrico said. That Ray was a reincarnation of someone who died on the battlefield in France. How did that go again? Hmm! Maybe THIS nonsense can be retraced all the way back to Mr. Electrico and that confounded traveling circus.
Nard, I'm afraid it certainly looks that way. Standard Christianity, as presented to him, just wasn't fitting the bill for Ray, and he seems to have rejected other presentations of Christ, in whatever form, except on his own terms. Mr. Electrico offered him a concept he liked at his moment of greatest need, and, being presented with what he wanted to hear, Ray jumped at it and quite possibly never looked back.
"Secular Humanism" as an established religion is utter fallacy (their Seminary is located...where?) but if you accept it as a concept of thinking, it was already well in evidence in the "King of Kings" narration. Does not conventional Christianity teach that man, of himself, is a repugnant, putrid, utterly irredemable group of miserable wretches? Had not Jesus Christ (who walked this earth in a human body, but carried a Divine Spirit born without sin) come to offer humanity the hope of redemption (which each individual must accept--it isn't simply automatic for all) they would all, from the worst to the best of them, perish most abominably in hellfire.
Yet, somewhere in the narration of "King of Kings," is, not an exact quote, but a phrase to the effect of "and, being naturally good and fine, they needed only instruction." Well, okay, man was created in God's image--that much is scriptural--but to present humanity as being inherently wishing, seeking, or possessing good as an inborn trait, quality, and life goal, rather than being born naturally base and perverse, is certainly a different interpretation of scripture if not outright unscriptural!
Wow! That's right on. The old phrase, ''God made man in his own image, and man returned the favor''...applies.
Think about this:
Mr. Electrico possibly is the pivotal point in Ray's religious beliefs. God still breaks thru the concrete of our lives. Often it takes plain and simple lots of prayer. Ray may have loved Mr. Electrico thru all these years, but that doesn't make Mr. Electrico right!
Hey, Nard, that's the same rule I apply when Ray strays too far afield.
Food for thought:
The Nephilim were upon the Earth,
In those days and thereafter too,
When the sons of the gods
Cohabitated with the daughters of the Adam,
And they bore children unto them.
They were the might ones of Eternity -
The People of the Shem.
- Genesis, Chapter 6
Nephilim: Hebrew NFL ("to be cast down")
Those who were cast down upon the Earth
And Elohim said:
"Let us make Man in our image,
after our likeness."
- Genesis, Chapter 1
wow. i just discovered ray bradbury's amazing body of work and came here to write about my excitement, and now am confronted by all these images of his decline. i must say i have come across hints that mr. bradbury has changed some, gotten perhaps codgery in his time, but it's an eye opener reading impressions from other dedicated readers.
my first encounter of his work was Martian Chronicles, having been digested and saved by my wife since probably high school. i read it probably a couple months ago. although obviously he could not have predicted the future of humanity exactly, i was shocked by two factors, his gifts if you will.. first and most obvious, this unbelievable creativity. how can one man put so many ideas to life, none of which i would have dreamed of before reading (and yet so vivid they have haunted my dreams ever since). second, how he can portray in his characters such real emotions, they become a part of me.
now i have gone on to read fahrenheit (didn't do as much for me as i was led to expect, but perhaps i was too old to start it) followed by a short stories collection which again blew me away, dandelion wine, brought me to heights of many emotions, i sing the light electric..
and now his essays on writing... in some ways these bring me back to the codgery talk, but they also inspire me to put my ideas down, take them seriously.
i don't consider one 'favorite' author, artist, musician, movie, etc. but i have clearly stumbled upon a veritible master whom i will always cherish.
Decline? Naw. But it's coming to grips with Ray's fundemental beliefs that is surprising.
ART VS. RELIGION
Those of you subjecting Bradbury's work to some sort of Christian litmus test don't seem to understand the difference between art and religion. Religion dictates belief. Art explores mystery.
Bradbury is an artist, not a religionist. As such, his calling is not to maintain a point of view that comports with the teachings of any particular system of belief, but to allow his imagination to wander where it will, exploring realms unknown, and reporting what it finds.
If you want a written sermon, read a Billy Graham article, or better yet, Jonathan Edwards's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." If, on the hand, you prefer honest, exploratory, and entertaining literature that shines with a vision and artistry unbridled by the dictates of religious dogma, then Ray Bradbury is most assuredly your man.
Yours in imagination,
Interesting post, Parci. I find it interesting that when religion talks about itself (the sacred writings) as a whole, they allude to mystery and teach in allegory and metaphor. In this sense, I definetly see Bradbury as writing with a very significant religious senstitivity (as does Wordsworth, and other writers). When people talk about religion, they sometimes oversimplify that mystery, and want it to give them simple, clear answers. Religion retains its hold on man -- not because man is stupid or primitive -- but because religion plumbs the depths of the mysteries of the universe -- mysteries as vast as the cosmos and as inward as the human soul/psyche. I think Bradbury does this masterfully!
Hello Mr. Dark, you're up pretty late tonite. How's the new job going?
I've been wanting to ask since you first mentioned it a few months back, but I wasn't sure as to how, where, or when to do it. So I'll just lay it out here now. Tell us all about it.
I have several new things going.
I'm actually doing a book proposal, but am too chicken/private to share the content, yet; but I'm very excited about it. (NOT fiction, as I have NO talent there!) I have about 150 pages written (of the book) in a draft form. The proposal is almost done, and I'm compiling a list of publishers I can legitimately submit it to.
I'm running a fine art B&W portrait business. In fact, I'm off to do a shoot now re-creating pulp mystery/ghost mazazine covers or an actress/model to use as the splash page of her website.
I'm teaching philosphy at two colleges now (which is time consuming, but I'm excited about).
And I'm working full time as a project lead/Technical writer at a high tech consulting firm here in North Texas. I was laid off for two years, which let me get a start of the photo business and the book; but it also made me poor.
My daughter -- a junior in high school-- just received her ranking in her class. She is #1 in her class. I'm very excited about that.
Thanks for asking!!!
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