Along the Tracks

Friday, November 01, 2002

Internal/external world

John Derbyshire’s column on National Review Online covers a lot of territory, and well, but what caught my eye was this reference to an A. E. Housman poem which uses art to explore the meaning of reality. To wit, is the outside world of buildings and trees and people which we contact through our senses “real” and “unending,” or is it really the internal world which continues on past death?

This subject is among the many I feel the need to explore with the recent suicide of a friend and relative - not so much to understand my own thoughts on the subject (both worlds are equally “real,” in my estimation), but rather, to understand his. Was he really trying to end his existence, or end the existence of an outside world he no longer wanted to be included in (as suggested by the poem), knowing full well he would continue on? Or was it both?

I don’t have any answer here, but the poem offered me a different way to look at this. Thanks, Mr. Housman. And thanks, Derb.

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