I did indeed receive your letter urging me to send you the promised text for your special issue on love. But I did warn you that I could tell you only what I think. It was you who questioned me, it is to you that I respond. For I have had, for a long time, nothing more to say about love. It’s a feeling that I believed I had and understood, at a time when I was developing false ideas about life, for in truth I never found any love in it, only in me:
[The following is text of a talk I gave early this fall at the Philadelphia conference on Psychedemia (C.S.)]
The point is that a thought — any thought — retards time: The infinitely rapid rush of transition — the white susurrus of the immediate movement from one instant to its successor. To be possessed of a thought — it is as if there were a station in time at which one could have a recess from its passage. One stops to consider. One places before oneself that which a thought contains in order to elaborate, reflect, develop, associate . . . while holding the position of the original thought. Time flies on, but the thought remains... Sort of.
In every sense, Uncle Ken’ichi seemed to have been born in order to be sacrificed to the war effort. He was born more than a decade after my father, and so the entire process of his personal development coincided with the process of Japan’s descent into conflict. In the end, his young flesh and fragile soul were placed as burnt offerings upon the altar of war.