Finally Miss Buck said, "You may take your seat now, Rudy."
Reading Philosophy Made Simple, Rudy made another discovery that was perhaps equally important. He may have been a Platonist, but Helen, he realized, had been an Aristotelian. She'd attended DePaul University, "the little school under the El," which is a Catholic school, but there wasn't a religious bone in her body. She had no use for another world. Other worlds spelled trouble. The Roman Catholic Church, she maintained, was the most corrupt institution in the history of the world, and other religions weren't far behind: "Just look around: Catholic versus Protestant; Methodist versus Free Methodist; Christian versus Jew; Jew versus Muslim; Shiite versus Sunni; Sephardic versus Ashkenazi; Hindu versus Muslim; Hindu versus Sikh. And so on."
No, this world had been enough for Helen. She'd had no interest in another world beyond the realm of appearances. She would have dismissed Plato's ideal forms-the real reality behind the world of appearances-just as Aristotle, according to Siva Singh, had dismissed them, saying they had no more meaning than singing la la la. Then why did she love medieval and Renaissance paintings? all those saints and madonnas and crucifixions and resurrections and epiphanies . . . ? All of a sudden Rudy understood: it was because she insisted on looking at them, as if they were just things, whereas he tried to look through them. It was the same with music. Bach's B Minor Mass or "Mr. Jelly Roll Baker," it didn't matter. She listened to the notes; he listened through them. She heard melody and harmony and counterpoint; he heard something calling him from far, far away.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Hellenga
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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