A Discussion of a Norman Mailer book

In my mystic journey, I find I am revisiting some of the books that I loved when I was in my 20s and 30s. How fun to discover that what I resonated with then, I continue to find relevant. I wanted to share short posts on a few of those books. Here is the first.

On God: An Uncommon Conversation by Norman Mailer with Michael Lennon (Random House, 2007) is not by or about a mystic. If you love the work of Norman Mailer, do not, or are unfamiliar with him, his conversations will, at least, make you think. Not considered a spiritual writer nor a spiritual figure, he was one of my favorite American authors. This book was published shortly before his death in 2008.

I am fascinated with Mailer’s thoughts in this book. While I don’t agree with all of them, he presents ideas to consider, which is what great writers do. The main point that Mailer reiterates throughout his book, and the most significant, is that God is a Creator, but one that is still evolving. Mailer considers that we are developing with God and, because of this, He needs us as much as we need Him. Perhaps Mailer’s view is egocentric, but if we are still progressing, why wouldn’t our Creator be doing the same? Why wouldn’t we reflect all aspects of the divine? 

Mailer reflects an updated view of God rather than the older, theistic one that directs our lives. He questions:

“God may be developing along with evolution.” Why must a god be independent of time?”

I mention this same concept in my book, Do It Yourself Guide to Spirituality: Seven Simple Steps (2011):

“God is evolving, in our world of shifting knowledge. While many argue that a changing God who fits our constant demands is self-serving, history show this is not the first time God has developed. The last 3000 years held to a mythic, theist God after magical gods gave way to ‘a ruler, a punisher, a patriarch.’ Why would we expect this view to remain unchanged?”

I like Mailer’s description of humans as “not finished,” as if we were a story being written. He makes the concept of “Creator” real. Rather than some almighty force, God becomes a more understandable artist molding his creations as He Himself changes. That is what an artist does; why would God, or whatever name we choose, be different?

Mailer claims:

“The point is that the purpose of life may be to find higher and better questions. Why? Because what I believe – this is wholly speculative but important to me – is that we are here as God’s work, here to influence His future as well as ours.”

I love that he wants us “to find higher and better questions,” similar to raising our vibrations. He wants us to assist God, as God assists us; we are here to create. While he may express the ideas differently and use other words, most mystics agree.

We are here to participate in the creation of our lives and in the world around us.

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