A LITTLE BOY IN SEARCH OF GOD
Mysticism: In A Personal Light
This essay will try to relate the experiences of one who considers himself a bit of a mystic," and in the light of Singer's introductory exegesis, one who is also a bit of a seeker, one with a nodding acquaintance with demons and the better angels. Singer returns to his childhood and youth in Poland to chronicle the religious recognitions of a boyhood in which "Jewishness. . . contained all the flavors, all the vitamins, the entire mysticism of faith." But among the labyrinthine wonders of the cabala appeared the chill winds of a new secular science, the lures of modern philosophy, and a growing awareness of human tragedy. From the past Singer summons forth scenes to monitor the soul's journey: incantations mumbled by a small boy on dark stairs; a debate about free will between a pious mother and atheist brother in a winter of near starvation; the abuse of poor Jews by hooligans ("I could have killed myself . . . . What I was seeing was the essence of human history. . ."). Finally there is Singer's own proud "formula"--the neo-philosophic product of fevered reading and speculation, not to mention hunger, illness, and a long night in a lover's bed. "Life was. . . a little dust on the surface of [the earth] . . . transformed into consciousness which in God's dictionary was a synonym for death, protest, goals, suffering, having, asking countless questions and growing entangled in countless contradictions." A plumb line to the rich primal sea of Singer's storytelling.