“Living and Dying are One”


The title of this post is from Henry Miller’s Big Sur and The Oranges of  Hieronymus Bosch.  Miller goes on to say, “…it makes no difference whether we live a day or a thousand years.” He ends the section with a quote from Confucius. “If a man sees Truth in the morning, he may die in the evening without regret.”

I don’t bring attention to these pages because I resonate with them, but because I don’t. I would like to. I don’t think I don’t because I don’t get it. Intellectually I do.

If I saw Truth in the morning, why would I not want more of it? The answer must be that living and dying are one. I take this to mean the Truth is more life, although a different one. What say you?

16 thoughts on ““Living and Dying are One”

  1. Andy Oldham January 12, 2014 / 3:51 pm

    😦 me neither ????????????????????????????

    • fictionfitz January 13, 2014 / 4:43 am

      Preaching to the choir. :>)

  2. Andy Oldham January 12, 2014 / 3:51 pm

    Sometimes smart ain’t so smart!

  3. Carl D'Agostino January 12, 2014 / 5:31 pm

    Perhaps we are to understand morning and evening not by our usual concepts of time. Now that I have grandchildren I approach bits of understanding of this idea. Perhaps his definition of truth would be the acceptance of the Tao or the detachment of Buddha.

    • fictionfitz January 13, 2014 / 4:39 am

      Hi Carl, I haven’t worked at all with Tao. I am not familiar with its concept of acceptance. I will have to get a book or two on the subject. Detachment of the Buddha I have some familiarity; enough to appreciate the detachment concept. I want to understand morning and evening while engaged with the Internet on a laptop and listening to a book on Kindle Fire.

  4. New Hampshire Garden Solutions January 12, 2014 / 6:25 pm

    I disagree with “it makes no difference whether we live a day or a thousand years.” Mostly because I see new things and learn something new every day.If it made no difference if it were a day or a thousand years, why be born at all? Is he saying that we learn all there is to know about life in a day? If so, I’m afraid that I’m lagging far behind.

    It’s hard to know what the author had in mind without reading the book. Maybe he wasn’t talking about learning at all.

    As to the Confucius quote, I think I’d need to know his definition of truth. If he was speaking of God, then I’d agree.

    • fictionfitz January 13, 2014 / 4:41 am

      It does need expansion, and not the isolation of one or two quotes. Still, I go where you went.

  5. jhvn January 12, 2014 / 8:10 pm

    I suspect that Confucius makes the point that to really see the truth completely fulfills one’s life. As a result, there would be no need to continue living once one fully comprehends the truth. It takes great depth of perception to fully comprehend the truth. I also accept the dictum of St. Oren, which you;ve heard me say, “The way you think it is, is not the way it is at all.” Hence the truth is far beyond “the way you think it is.”

  6. Carole Webber January 13, 2014 / 6:20 am

    I have to think what is truth for me ? After some pondering I see truth as reality. If you accept it as such perhaps living each day without regrets makes dying easier .
    But then who am I to interpret Confucius ?.

  7. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist January 15, 2014 / 6:07 am

    I take it to mean that to see the truth is such a rare and elusive thing that once seen you have reached the pinnacle of your search and that death is something which is then not frightening and you can approach it happily, without fear.
    Does this mean you bought BS & the OOHB and are reading it? Second time round and I still love it.

    • fictionfitz January 15, 2014 / 6:38 am

      Irene that is a good explanation. Yes, I have the book on Kindle and I am reading it. Probably take me a while, but I am enjoying. I spent many years in Northern California in the sixties and seventies. Thanks for the recommendation.

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