Heaven's Gate

in which Mel "All hell has been breaking loose" Brooks
and Herman "Call me Israel" Wouk
celebrate the April 24 birthdays of showgirls
Barbra "Inside" Streisand and
Shirley "Outside" MacLaine
with a meditation on the following sacred scriptures:
The Magic Circle,
Inside, Outside,
The Deceivers,
Lyrics, 1962-1985, by Bob Dylan

by Steven H. Cullinane on April 24, 2001

Part I: Sum of the Parts

"'Soul of the World. The bottom line that lets you hear things talking and lets you see what everybody's seeing but makes you think what nobody else has. You call it synergy. I call it Anima Mundi. Same thing.'
'God, maybe?'
'Some people call it that. Why not? Same thing.'
He nodded again. 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, no matter what you name it.'"
-- The Deceivers, by Alfred Bester, 1981, Chapter Eight, "The Search," (Republished by Pocket Books, September 1999)

"The show... is much more than the sum of its gorgeously silly parts. It is, to put it simply, the real thing...."
-- Ben Brantley, theatre review, The New York Times, Friday, April 20, 2001 (Hitler's birthday)

Part II: Heaven's Gate

"I returned to the frustrating topic of my family's true relations with Adolf Hitler and his ilk. I had no idea where to begin. I thought of that jingle of William Blake's:

I give you the end of a golden string,
Only wind it into a ball:
It will lead you in at Heaven's gate,
Built in Jerusalem's wall."

-- The Magic Circle, by Katherine Neville, Ballantine Books paperback, 1999, page 500

"Inside were two opening-night tickets, front row center, mezzanine, perfect seats for viewing a musical....
'The only trouble is... that cast parties are a madhouse. I'm having a little private party afterwards for a few friends. Bert Lahr, Moss Hart, Johnny Mercer, just a dozen or so people. I wonder, could I hold the party up here? My place is too small. I'll provide the food and liquor, and I'll invite two great girls from the show....'
Peter and I looked at each other, smiled, and broke into loud laughter.
'You're on,' Peter said."
-- Inside, Outside, by Herman Wouk, Little, Brown, and Company, 1985, Part III, "April House" /p>

Part III: Numerology

Showgirls Barbra "Inside" Streisand and Shirley "Outside" MacLaine were both born on today's date, April 24.

"The answer is always 24."
-- Congressman William Clinger, on a campaign to help the U.S. achieve first place in mathematics by the year 2000.

See also math24.com and the remarks of Katherine Neville on Hexagram 24 of the I Ching -- Fu/Return: The Turning Point -- on page 213 of The Magic Circle.

"May you stay forever young."
-- Lyrics, 1962-1985, by Bob Dylan, Knopf, 1985


For a more traditional description of heaven's gate, see Pico Iyer's description of a Benedictine hermitage in the New York Times Magazine of Sunday, June 6, 1999 -- the day Rick Fields died. Rick, a member of the Harvard College Class of 1964, was a Buddhist and a writer on Buddhism. (See references to his work on the web.) He would probably have appreciated the same-day service by Iyer ("contemplation.com") and also the current "Golden String Newsletter" from Iyer's hermitage. Whether Blake, the Jews, the Buddhists, or the Benedictines have best described heaven's gate I leave to the reader to decide.

Page created April 24, 2001 shc759. Return to Journal.