I'm an open book  

rm_harshawj 51M
761 posts
6/18/2005 3:03 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

I'm an open book

How many times have I started to get to know someone when something like "I want to get to know you" or some such is said. Can this possibly be one of the hardest things to face in a new relationship? After all, we are all unique, we all think differently, we all hold different ideals. So, how does someone get to know someone else?

Usually it is a night of twenty questions, favorite color, favorite movie, favorite music, favorite food, work history, life story, political leanings, religious ideology, moralistic views, and philosophy of life (etc... ad infinitum). It is usually the last four items that throw people for a loop because most people have not thought about these things. Largely these last four also have a very impactful effect on what we bring to a relationship. So being able to express these things is important. Just saying, "I'm Republican, and Jewish, Bible taught, and Deist" is not enough for people to understand you. Each of these things are a discussion in and of themselves.

I guess I have it harder, a lot of my answers to the last four are more esoteric. I do not fall into a political group per say, nor do my religious leanings gather around one established religion, nor do my morals come from any central source, and my philosophy on life is a little skewed from what other may consider acceptable. I have a complex view of things that are difficult to put into simple terms and a quick discussion.

Now this may be good. I have had some great conversations with people just like me and if the other person is articulate enough to express how they feel about these subjects it is a very rewarding conversation and a good learning experience. But there are times when the words do not come. Fortunately, I have a fall back on many ideological positions.

When I was sixteen I read Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein for the first time. When I finished it I promptly reread it another three times and the book had a profound effect on me and the way I view the world. (Job, A Comedy of Justice" also by Robert Heinlein changed my view on how I deal with ideas or organized religion.) In Stranger I specifically identify with a particular character. The characters' name is Jubal Harshaw. (Yep, hence my handle.) If I could live my life as Jubal Harshaw and all he represents and all he cherishes and all he believes, I would be a happy man, but I can only attempt to live that way.

Now admittedly I have some insight into the character that others may never get just form the reading of Stranger, for after I read the book I took the opportunity to actually write Robert Heinlein (this is when publishers still encouraged authors to respond to fan mail) and ask some pointed questions about Jubals' views. As it turns out, Jubal Harshaw is in actuality Robert Heinlein in just about every way (except for some of the hedonist extravagances.) So asking Robert about Jubal was like talking to Jubal directly.

After many letters and exchanges Robert invited me up to his Santa Barbara home for dinner (July 1985 I believe) with himself and Virginia (his wife). So I drove the one hundred miles or so and had one of the most fascinating evenings of my life. It is after all not often that one can spend a private evening discussing issues that are on the mind of "The Dean of Science Fiction". By the time I left I had a head full of ideas to think about and these ideas became the core of my way of thinking and how I feel about the four topics listed above. My thoughts on these are not Roberts' by rote, but he helped me to think them through and form my own slant on them that fit me and help round out the person I am.

So, now when I am pressed to answer the question of "Who am I" and all that covers, I can talk about it but I can also point to a source, Stranger, and if they read it and understand Jubal they will be far along in understanding who I am and what I believe.

I guess I am lucky, I have something firm to point to that illustrates my ideology. Do you have any books of authors that have influenced you in your beliefs?


rm_nvshel 52F
1 post
6/19/2005 5:06 pm

We always seem to miss each other online so I thought I would read your blogs each day. Really learning more about you and enjoy them. I'll keep looking for you.


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