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Wittgenstein's Son and U. G. Krishnamurti: Ducks or Rabbits

Wittgenstein's Son and U. G. Krishnamurti: Ducks or Rabbits

Автором D. L. Forbes

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Wittgenstein's Son and U. G. Krishnamurti: Ducks or Rabbits

Автором D. L. Forbes

760 pages
15 hours
Nov 2, 2020


The eminent philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1898-1951), is considered by many to be the most important and influential philosopher of the 20th century, whereas his son, D. L. Forbes-Wittgenstein (b.1951) by contrast, is considered by a few as the most speciously neglected artist, writer, and poet of the 20th and 21st centuries.
From the late 1960s, Wittgenstein's son took to existentially roaming the world, though for now he resides principally in San Francisco, California, and where during the 1980's he encountered the no nonsense, non-guru U. G. Krishnamurti. Forbes has written twelve books to date; ten published within a three-year period. He is also a prolific painter; his first one-man five-year retrospective was held in San Francisco in 1980 . . .
(Opening to a book review)

Yes, well, the above scoop is all very fine and dandy, but what I need is for you to buy my biography, Wittgenstein's Son and U. G. Krishnamurti . . . Ducks or Rabbits, and also if you can possibly manage it, buy my bio-novels, poetry and plays, paintings too. Then I will not have to schlepp a shopping cart about with a sad-ass looking dog and cat and panhandle on the streets, and sleep in cardboard boxes not of our own making or design.
Then perhaps with a little dosh, the dog, cat, and I will not be so sad-ass looking or moved-on at the whim of robotic enforcement officers, or any self-appointed members of the ethical community who address and look at us as though they would willingly assist us in their new assisted suicide programme.
When young, though poor, life in San Francisco used to be great. Those were the days when South of Market was a wonderful un-thriving wilderness, and a T-shirt at Goodwill cost 10 cents, and the monthly rent on my first studio apartment in the Mission District with a view across the city was 120 bucks. Now I am old, though still poor, life in San Francisco is not so great, in fact it sometimes sucks big-time.
So please buy any or all of my twelve books published so far, and my paintings too, so my dog, cat, and I may end our days with a bit of dignity and in the gutter of our own choosing.
You might even like my books, and my paintings.
Thank you and hasta la vista.
Nov 2, 2020

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Wittgenstein's Son and U. G. Krishnamurti - D. L. Forbes

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the author’s prior consent in any form of binding, cover, or device other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Rights reserved*

© D. L. Forbes 2020

*U.G. Krishnamurti has stated that his words have no copy write and owned by no one.

Print ISBN: 978-1-09832-693-7

eBook ISBN: 978-1-09832-694-4

1. Biography 2. Journals 3. Philosophy














The One Hundred Poetry Series – Number One




The One Hundred Poetry Series – Number Two





The One Hundred Poetry Series – Number Three



The One Hundred Poetry Series – Number Four



The One Hundred Poetry Series – Number Five







The One Hundred Poetry Series – Number Six





"Whereof one cannot speak

thereof one must be silent"

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951

The certainty that blasts everything

Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti

9 July 1918 – 22 March 2007


In 1966, at age fifteen, high on life and a mountaintop during a school skiing trip to Austria, I made a grandiose vow to myself, how during my mother’s lifetime I would not publish any of my writing that involved her or would unnecessarily upset or embarrass her in any way. This was an easily enough made promise to keep, considering I had nothing then in the way of writing to publish or keep mum about.

I made this teen vow principally as a result of a promise my mother secured from me three years previously, after revealing to me, A confidence, that at your age, dear, I feel you have the right to know about, and how I, should not talk to anyone else on the matter regarding the curious concealment, apropos my biological father, the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

I was hardly impressed by this rather unsatisfactory secret, for I was then reading ‘Treasure Island’ and thinking more along the lines of a secret map leading to buried pirate treasure; yet I was not willing then or later to disregard my promise to my mother, nor had I cause to do so. Though in years to come I secretly wrote a good deal in my journals about my eccentric, genius father, as I did my other secret doings. Writings which would certainly have distressed my mother if broadcast, potentially provoking gossip, and criticism of which at that time she had something of a phobia, and as she explained, Disparaging censure we would do far better to live without.

Similarly, in my vow making, though more complicated, I did not wish to inform my unaware mother or resurrect for myself issues of adult tinkering in childhood, or share with her mental issues or the regular bouts of adolescent depression, nor my largely straightforward delving into homosexuality. My mother did not believe in mental illness anyway, and very much of the, Snap out of it and pull yourself together, school of thought; which I also later wrote about undercover in semi-novel and poetic form. I do not think she believed much in fairies either, or in homosexuality, and thought the notion of men, "doing-things together, just silly."

Nor much later, did I have any intention or reason to publish what I wrote regarding an association with my ex-non-guru, Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti, even though he would certainly have been indifferent to anything written about him or his non-credo credo.

Neither have I since puberty ever seen a reason not to live openly in all my natural homosexual splendour, yet I have cringed be it ever so slightly at the idea of sharing with my mother even in print, the down and dirty details of my full and wonderfully anomalous sex life, particularly in regards to secret dabbling in teen prostitution (under her nose) or the later lucrative inroads I made using my erotic and prostate massage skills. Even so, residing mostly in San Francisco through the plague decades of the 1980s and 90’s, this did put a bit of a pall on one’s state of mind and activities, what with friends, lovers, clients, and others dying by the cartload, of which I wrote about and then stashed away for posterity, or maybe just to forget.

Not publishing anything during much of my life never bothered me, for predominantly I always considered myself a painter, and writing only a side-thing, something to do between schmoozing and smooching with the lads, or as a useful adjunct in coping with episodes of general hereditary psychosis.

Nor did it interest me to publish under any pseudonym. Career-wise as a writer one might say, or can say, I missed the boat, but then I never did care for boats actual or metaphorical, nor embarking career-wise on any particular voyage, not cossetted in a luxury liner or out in a wobbly, leaky rowing boat with flaky pea-green paint, wherein lay the picked over carcasses of what looked like an owl and a pussycat, or were they a duck or rabbit? The mess too decomposed to re-count any bedtime tale.

My mother lived into her ninety-first year and had a healthy and I believe mostly happy life; she slipped gently away in April 2017.

I managed to reach age sixty-six in 2017 without somehow attracting disease or murderers, when someone commented how this was a decent enough age at which I might retire... yet the proposition begged the question, Retire, from what?

In 2015, to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday in 2016, I decided to overlook my juvenile vow and go ahead and self-publish my thousand-page, two volume novel Saxonford, as her birthday present – alas my mother died before finishing volume one... but this was not my or my book’s fault, as has wickedly been suggested. Though later in 2017, I did decide to publish a much more revealing bio-novel Children of Sycorax, a book I am sure really would have done-her-in, good-and-proper.

I amassed over the decades, boxes of poetry, or what I call poetry, and in 2018 thought I would also like to publish a single volume Life Threatening Poetry Across America. In addition, during 2018 another volume of poetry Umlungu – The White Scum that Floats in the Surf pushed itself forward.

In a fit of publish all and be damned, towards the end of 2018 I published another telling bio-novel Yid un Goy Yingl, and its accompanying poetry Gentile and Jew Boys.

I have written much love and sexual poetry since a teen, and in 2019 decided, I would like to see some of these in print, Rough Fluff – 100 Love Poems, and, Charmed, I’m Sure – 100 Sex Poems.

Now in 2020 I am publishing my tenth book Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Son and U. G. Krishnamurti, Ducks or Rabbits, predominately a work of non-fiction that would certainly have finished my mother off, even more, good-and-proper.

For this book, I have assembled and edited just 365 entries from diaries and journals spanning more than four decades, in which I try again to grasp some reasonable understanding as to this existence, particularly in connection to my father Ludwig Wittgenstein and my non-guru U. G. Krishnamurti. These two important men in my life, at first acquaintance might appear separate species, yet their backgrounds similar, and they shared many parallels in their philosophy and non-philosophy.

I have never much cared what anyone knew or thought of me, and I have reached a stage or age now where one can look back, in a benign sort of way perhaps, at all the wonder and ghastliness one has gone through, or put oneself through, yet manage to continue the trudge, and if not exactly still happily smelling of roses, at least to a place where one can simply say, not too complacently I hope, Oh well, there we are.

Roughly, along these lines, my father once wrote, In writing autobiography, truthful accounts can take myriad forms, from the conservatively wholesome to the utterly indelicate. In whatever form, a biography needs to simply open one’s life with clarity and truth, to oneself and to others.

There are no Acknowledgements to make in this book, or in any of my ten other books, for I publish independently, without editors, advisors, financial support, help, or encouragement from anyone.

I do not say this in any griping or apologetic way, only to point out all anomalies in content, text, and gaffes in editing are my own doing.

San Francisco,

July 2020 David L. Forbes


2019 – Santa Monica

I was born in the wee hours of 25 April 1951. The previous day my mother received a postcard of Great Court, Trinity College, Cambridge in an envelope from my father Ludwig Wittgenstein, reminding her to inform him immediately the child was born.

Several hours later when less occupied, my mother had a hospital orderly post her reply, also a picture postcard in an envelope. Wittgenstein received the news of my birth on 26 April, his sixty-second birthday, and my mother in London unaware Ludwig Wittgenstein, acknowledged as one of the most powerful influences upon contemporary philosophy, lay on his deathbed at Cambridge.

Ludwig had informed her before she even conceived, how his child, would have to be a boy, it could be no other. My mother told me she laughed and told him she could hardly guarantee the child’s sex. He replied seriously, she must do the best she can, as though she were taking an exam or merely needed to apply her mind through the correct conduits in order to present him with a son. He also insisted his son be named David Malcolm Ludwig Wittgenstein. David after his friend David Pinsent, an Englishman whom he once loved and who in 1918 died quite young in an aeroplane accident; Malcolm after his American philosopher friend Norman Malcolm, and Ludwig after himself and of course, Wittgenstein. My mother pointed out how these name demands somewhat contradicted their previous agreement in keeping the child’s paternity undisclosed.

On 27 April, my father recorded his last words of philosophy, and the following night, knowing he had a living son born into the world, Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein prepared to leave this world.


My mother told me when I was in my teens, how she alone believed she understood Ludwig’s last words, for she was firmly convinced my father’s last words before losing consciousness for the last time had not been the alleged, Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life. But either, "Tell him I’ve had a wonderful life. Or more likely, Tell him to have a wonderful life." For he had written similar words to my mother a month earlier:

"More than anything, I hope he will have a wonderful life... a sight more wonderful than my own, and that he may live his life as a decent human being... and please remember, as I told you, nice people must be born in the month of April."

My mother, when a week after the fact, found out Ludwig had died and already buried, she recalled his words, and to remember to pass them on to me someday.

My mother eventually contrived to speak with the person who was with Ludwig when he died, and who seemed to my mother strangely gratified to have been in at the death. The person allegedly freely admitted to my mother how Professor Wittgenstein’s last words were not perhaps strictly verbatim. He spoke, the person recalled, "very softly in fits and starts, and his voice then quite accented, but I caught the gist of what he meant to say."

His words, my mother concluded, were possibly then simply unheard or misheard, and thus able to more widely encompass and comfort colleagues and acquaintances with the last words, Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life. I think it highly unlikely Ludwig would have uttered such an uncharacteristic sentiment at his last, even in irony.

No one who knew Ludwig quite understood whom these them were exactly, or why his last remark would be directed to them whom he had never given so much a hoot about during his lifetime. Such is the way of the world, of human cant and a need in the living to produce suitable last words for posterity in the noteworthy dying.

Norman Malcolm, the friend of Wittgenstein and professor of philosophy who knew and understood Ludwig as well as anyone, wrote in his 1958 memoir of Ludwig Wittgenstein, on hearing tell of these last words he was very much surprised considering his friend’s deep pessimism and the passion of his mental and moral suffering, also in the way he relentlessly drove his intellect, yet his longing for love combined with a severity ousted the very love of which he longed. Malcolm concluded his memoir stating he believed his friend had in fact a fiercely unhappy life.

I was christened, Malcolm David Lawrence; my married mother not able to bring herself or dare to include the declaration of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s parentage on my birth certificate. She chose Lawrence over Ludwig, after her brother who was killed in action in 1945 during the closing months of the war. Her then husband’s surname, Griffiths – grief face the face of grief I thought as a child, my mother substituted for Wittgenstein.


Ludwig Wittgenstein, my father, for such I call him, and Margaret Ford, my mother, an attractive eighteen-year-old Celtic lass, first met in Wales at Langland Bay during the spring and summer of 1944 where Wittgenstein was in lodgings. My mother was staying at Langland Bay with a girlfriend whose parents had been killed during the Swansea Blitz in 1941; my mother’s bother was killed in action in 1943. The two young women determined now to do their bit for King and Country, eagerly awaited their call up papers, having recently volunteered to join the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) the women’s branch of the British Army.

My mother, an outdoors girl loved to walk and took solitary hikes along the coast where she met Wittgenstein doing the same; they spoke and walked together. My mother, intelligent and sensitive with a wry sense of humour, they made each other laugh and enjoyed one another’s company and so began to meet regularly, and often daily over the following few months.

She described how they would chat and often talk a lot of nonsense. If you were a sea creature, what manner of sea creature would you be? sort of thing, and they went most weeks to the cinema together in Swansea. Ludwig called my mother Mar-Gretl, which she did not care for particularly, preferring the sobriquet Meg, a name he found unattractive and refused to use. She told him she did not like the sound of Mar-Gretl, so he called her Gretl and she called him Ludwig and not Luki as he suggested, she saying Luki sounded too much like the name of someone’s pet spaniel. With their admittedly childlike humour, they developed private words and jokes, Wittgenstein called her my secret woman and she quite fell for him and had no idea who he was, and if she had known, would not have much cared. He simply stated, he tried to teach dense students how not to think. She suggested he most probably dim-wittgenised them, and how they would converse on all and any topic but not much in the way of philosophy. He told her he believed in God. She told him how she would like to believe in God, but could not do so, particularly as God seemed to enjoy watching the species he supposedly created in his own image, destroy one another in these never-ending bloody wars and in dire disease. He told her how her mere presence made him brighter and more hopeful of the future and how their laughter and chat assisted in clearing his mind of cobwebs and helped him work again, helped his mind Tick over more efficiently.

Towards the end of their stay in Wales, she told him how she was rather in love with him. He responded, saying he would rather like to fall in love with her too, In a proper manner, but he was forty years plus her senior, frail and often unwell. If younger and completely well, he told her, I would offer you my hand and my life. Now all I have are the bits and pieces, and the scattered remnants of a man.

This made her sad she admitted, but with her usual dour Scots/Irish resilience not brokenhearted and continued to remain his secret woman friend and he her secret Austrian friend.

The army soon whisked my mother away, and because at school she had performed well in mathematics and taken some German, French, and Latin, they shipped her out to Germany as an army bookkeeper to reorganise and rule the soon to be defeated Germans. Ludwig, apparently delighted by the news, wrote to her, You are exactly what the Fatherland needs to completely finish it off... and I know you will soon be playing German airs on your typewriter, which I know will sound exactly like Brahms. This is a good example of L.W.’s idea of humour.


Over the next few years, Margaret and Ludwig corresponded and met twice at Cambridge and once in Germany.

In 1947, my mother, who remained stationed with the British military government based at Bad Oeynhausen in the British occupation zone, met a military rozzer in Hanover and soon they married. They had a daughter in 1948 and then in 1949, my mother sought a separation from her chronically womanising husband.

My mother and Ludwig continued to communicate spasmodically in their usual covert way, picture postcards in envelopes usually with some silly or cryptic comment, sometimes scrawled across the picture.

By late July 1950, with my mother honourably discharged from the army after reconstructing the Fatherland, almost singlehandedly one might easily imagine, they arranged to meet in London for a few days, Ludwig now staying at Oxford but ostensibly visiting London to see an American philosopher friend.

My mother expressed how Ludwig at this time behaved, overall, charmingly, and most playful during their meetings, Very excitable with a huge surfeit of ants in his pants, or ants in his brains. On their first day they walked through Regent’s Park and visited the Zoo, the next day they went to the Science Museum in South Kensington where Ludwig saw a couple he knew from Cambridge and so hid from them behind a steam engine where he explained to my mother about all the wonders of steam propulsion for what seemed to her like an hour. He spoke of visiting Norway in October with a friend and then perhaps returning to Austria for a while, and they discussed taking a holiday together in Ireland during the spring of the following year, and then on a whim they decided to take a train down to Brighton to spend a couple of days walking and breathing the clean fresh air along the Sussex coast.

At my mother’s initial proposal to Ludwig suggesting they have a child together, Ludwig she thought, in a piously condescending manner told her, If I cannot make you a better person, I should at least refrain from making you a worse one.

Incensed by such a sanctimonious dismissal, my mother told him he was speaking absolute and insulting twaddle, and who did he think he was, some sort of saint, or even God perhaps. Indeed, she suggested, he might look to himself again and his confessed acts of immorality before dousing her in his fine ethics and morality... He could at least prove before his God, how he was at least a halfway decent human being, and a real man at that...

Ludwig in turn was provoked at her words, but then agreed she was quite right, saying he had no justification in speaking to her in such a manner.

My mother won the day, and I was conceived somewhere along the Sussex coastline, my self-assured mother most likely taking the initiative and seducing Ludwig. I think she still rather loved him and had the notion to bear his child, a child from the sperm of a genius, and anyway, he possibly the only genius she knew at that fertile and needy moment of her life. She knew he did not keep good health and although thin, he did not seem to her particularly unwell, just a bit physically run down. Ludwig, of course did not tell my mother he had a terminal illness or how he had until recently been undergoing female hormone therapy for prostate cancer.

Despite Ludwig’s natural homosexual leanings and his frailness and diagnoses of prostate cancer that had now spread to his bone marrow, he acquiesced to the seduction. Miraculously, life survived in at least one of his sperm cells which managed amongst the debris to trickle and wiggle its way into my mother’s uterus to create me.

She told me she and Ludwig lay together three times over three nights, sans much lust or even much sexuality, one might imagine. I did not think to ask any questions when she told me all this, only shrinking at the possibly too much information from one’s mother. She only mentioned how they went about it, in a no-nonsense, practical philanthropic way of procreation; nothing too energetic or bawdy, but with much affection and playfulness.

Her words produced in me merely silent exclamations of disgust, "Urg! and Oh, yuck!" for I was just fourteen and like many schoolboys in their early teens and of homosexual persuasion, a complete little misogynist who did not like girls, not one bit, and never gave a thought to any female reproductive system at all, not in any way, or for any reason.

Ludwig agreed to attempt his contribution, and my mother recalled his saying, "I would like to lift a small flame from this dying ember of my body." A statement my mother took at the time as rhetorical and romantically fanciful.

On their return to London, they agreed if conception did not result from their conjoining, they would meet again after Christmas, perhaps at Newcastle and take a boat to Bergen in Norway for further attempts. Ludwig apparently became quite enthused about having a son, deciding they must ensconce themselves in a warm little hut he had built in Norway near Skjolden overlooking the Sogne Fjord, and while he worked, she would keep-hut for him, cook nourishing manly meals to build him up and to encourage him in copulation and fertility.

Providentially there was no need for use of the love hut, for my mother conceived in Sussex. Apart from his semi moral and religious misgivings, Ludwig was overjoyed when she told him she was pregnant, and they decided to meet anyway, but then Ludwig fell ill at Christmas and could not travel to Norway. In February, he told her, simply by knowing she carried his son, this gave him a great lease on life, and he was even inspired to work again.

During February, with my mother’s husband’s passionate affair in rapid decline, he begged my mother to return to him, and this she did, pregnant with me, and although he did not like the fact, or me, he considered me at the time his just deserts and feigned at first an acceptance of the situation – the woman he had consoled himself with at the loss of my mother had not come up to snuff. My mother never spoke to her husband of her seducer and to me but occasionally after the age of twelve in our ongoing secret father talks.

My mother understood well enough Ludwig would not wish to marry her, and I think by then she understood far better Ludwig and his prickly temperament, well enough not to wish to marry him either.

This essentially is the story I grew up with from the age of twelve, the secret story of my mother’s relationship with my father, Ludwig Wittgenstein, between 1944 and 1951 as told to me by my mother.

I believe my mother was an honest and straightforward person and I have no reason to doubt her word or the truth of anything she told me.

Only since the demise of my mother on 20 April 2017 in her 91st year, do I now hold myself free to write on this private subject and publish some of my diary and journal writings without allowing myself any too serious thoughts of disloyalty.


2018 – London

If I am ever uncomfortable or feel I am publishing any biographic detail against my or anyone else’s better judgement, I shall simply take heart remembering the poor, unsure and beleaguered orator up at London’s Speaker’s Corner one Sunday afternoon during the 60s, proclaiming truth to the punishing crowd.

I wrote in my journal in 1968:

...One shoddy and undernourished looking speaker, declared, Only the Lord Jesus Christ understands and knows the real truth about anything! This he proclaimed from his wobbly pulpit disguised as a wooden tea chest. "Truth, real-truth washed in The Blood of the Lamb of God. Yes, and Jesus, He Himself, He personally spoke unto me..."

No, he didn’t! Andrew heckled.

Oh, yes, yes, He did, son! Jesus told me Himself, The bloody truth, it will always come out in the wash!

Oh-no-it-doesn’t! I chanted pantomime style.

Yes, yes, have no fears about it, it will! he asserted, his face now glistening with nervous sweat.

Wet table salt’s good for getting blood out, some housewife shouted.

Yes, love, a clothe-capped chap bellowed, and so’s a bloody machine-gun!

We all laughed, and even the two policemen in attendance partially chuckled.

Believe! Wash thy selves in the Blood of the Lamb of God, or you shall roast in hellfire! the man decreed.

Ooo, Andrew shouted, don’t you just love a nice bit of roast leg of the Lamb of God, for your Sunday dinner?

Ooo, yes! I joined in, I know I do.

Goes lovely with a nice mint sauce on the side! Ralph added.

And two veg! Max shouted

With Yorkshire pudding and gravy! Colin added.

A cheer went up, and so on it went, and we five cheeky boys moved on to the next impassioned orator.

We all love going over to Hyde Park or Hype Park as we call it, my mates and me to cheer-on or jeer at the huge diversity of philosophers, politicos, the right religious, and other such oddities up on their soapboxes and tea chests. We think ourselves like the twentieth century version of fashionable Londoners of the eighteenth century who would visit Bedlam Lunatic Asylum of a Sunday afternoon to view the amusing antics of the dramatically insane...

To my way of thinking, true-truth seeking, up at Hyde Park Corner or anywhere else, usually requires some asserted mental and physical aggro, a bit of a push and a shove as it were, or the occasional sharp nudge to the transcendental bread basket. Long dead and buried truths you often need to dig for, to release them from their soiled bonds beneath the stinking jumble of old rag and bones. Even then, before any real raw-new-truth can arrive decently presented, you will need to give it a thorough carbolic hose down out in the backyard of life, or if time limited and truth pressing, at least a good lick-and-a-promise over the scullery sink..."

2019: This biographic journal then is generally of the lick-and-a-promise variety, containing writings regarding my mum and dad, my non-guru guru, others, and I.

Entries in this book are from notes, diary, and journal snippets spanning nearly fifty years, and largely left as-is, therefore, quality and depth of entries may vary for some are young-man-rough, opinionated, overwritten, with areas of repetition, sans strict editing, or just a bit too wordy for words, like this.

After my mother informed me in 1963 when I was twelve as to the identity of my biological father, she did not speak of Ludwig Wittgenstein again, and not until I began asking her questions several years later, did she reminisce about their relationship, although at first hesitantly. She answered later questions about my father because she believed I had the right to know if I chose, but what she told me, she wanted me to understand was between the two of us alone, and no one else had any right to know our business. I think she later enjoyed talking to me about my father, remembering what they spoke of and did during their time together.

I invariably recorded into my journal my mother’s words about her relationship with my father, what they did and spoke of as soon as I could so as not to forget anything, and transcribe some of it again here.


1974 – London

My mother explained to me how Ludwig and she indulged in a great deal of playful joking, often quite like children, speaking absurdly and at cross-purposes, or pretending not to understand one another with their mix of accents, my mother with her broad though refined Scots/Irish brogue mix (though now more Oxbridge-London after much of her life spent in the south) and Ludwig’s English spoken with an occasional slight stammer in somewhat aristocratic and refined Austro/German, or sometimes with hardly an accent at all. She described how his voice fluctuated a good deal and could sometimes sound harsh and not particularly attractive, especially when excited or cross, and then his speech tended to grow rather high-pitched.

Ludwig liked their play with vocabulary and meaning confusion with my mother, telling her, "English is one of the most important languages, yet it is often a most illogical and stupidly evolved language. What you are saying is exactly what I am saying; only your words, they come from you as if they are back to front or even upside down."

Well, your words, she replied, come out front to back, upside own, and are often a complete mishmash.

"A mishmash of words... Yes, that is good. Ludwig thought for a moment. Rather like a Mishnah of words. Hebrew, is it not?"

Yes, it is, my mother stated confidently. "When one of the lost tribes of Israel settled in Scotland many thousands of years ago you know, they often borrowed words from our Gaelic. Partly what we Celts refer to now as a Scotsbrew of words, a fine mixture of Gaelic and Hebrew."

Oh, that is most interesting, Ludwig stated enthusiastically. He looked at my mother who tried to hide her smile. Is this completely true?

"True, though not of course completely true, silly. But then, not wholly untrue either." And so on...

He asked her one day if she had ever visited the moon.

She thought that she had, as far as she could remember, but perhaps only the one time. I think then, I did not particularly care for that hard kind of moon cheese. Ludwig replied, saying the moon’s surface described as cheese something of a cliché, and he thought better of her than to use a common platitude. She told him she was just a common girl, if he had not noticed, and if he did not like it, he could just put his pipe under his hat and lump it, and go blow it too, if he pleased, and for all she cared.

He asked what it was like on the moon, and she mentioned there was a peculiar odour on the moon she did not care for either.

What? he asked. Could you identify the smell?

Well, yes, of course it was the smell of hard moon cheese, like a particularly ripe Romano; there was also a swampy area nearby. It was shown on the local moon map, and called Lake Limburger, but there wasn’t much else there.

To me, as a young boy, this was no great side-splitting repartee, but it seemed to amuse my prospective parents a good deal. Perhaps back in those days this weird and old-fashioned talk they considered a daring form of flirtation.

My mother explained how they quickly developed their own ingenuous way of speaking, though if any third party had heard them, they would probably have thought them full halfwits or mad. This I could well understand.

They were the only two real characters in their made-up world, and they seemed to think a great deal of themselves, otherwise my mother thought they were very straightforward and quite sensible with one another.

Ludwig asked if she agreed how the use of language a fascinating game. She did agree, saying language was like a card game, though most people never learned to play properly and were always laying down the wrong cards, or if they did know the game, they often did not follow the rules, and even cheated. Most did not progress much beyond "Patience or playing Snap!" whereas she considered herself, despite her purported commonness, more of a Bridge sort of a girl.

Ludwig admitted to enjoying games such as Ludo and Snakes and Ladders in the spring and summer months, and Monopoly and Dominos in autumn and winter. Chess, checkers, and card games he did not care for so much.

On one of their walks by the sea, my mother told Ludwig she would show him a game she used to play with her girlfriends; a variation of Blind Man’s Buff, but with less of the buffing and no men allowed; a game of Blind Girl’s Bluff.

Ludwig, she explained, must promise to keep his eyes shut, and no peeking, for about ten minutes or until she told him, he might open them, while she took his arm and led him along the bluff above the sea, and all he had to do behind his closed eyes was to forget about everything and simply look and exist in the world as she described it to him.

She described for him the enormous horizontally striped red and white lighthouse just ahead, with lots of fashionable men and women in Victorian evening dress, standing at the railings at the top of the lighthouse and waving white handkerchiefs in alarm at a large paddle steamer drawing dangerously close to jagged rocks. The people on the paddle steamer were likewise waving their handkerchiefs, thinking the lighthouse people were simply being friendly...

She exclaimed and told him a large hedgehog just crossed their path with brilliant red tips to its quills. On the path, she warned him there were now four steps up, and he was delighted as he stepped up the stairs that were not there. She described a gigantic beautiful moon just appearing over the horizon but then saw as it ascended it was the planet earth. A lady approached wearing a chic powder blue dress and leading an oversize matching powder blue French poodle. My mother called good morning, to which the woman replied in a Scotts-French accent, Good morning... a lovely day, is it not? Then the dog barked with a Scottish accent as though agreeing, and Ludwig laughed and asked if he could open his eyes so he too could see this wonderful lady and her dog.

"But you do see her and the dog, my mother told him. In the only way you are able to see them."

Ah yes, yes, Ludwig exclaimed, of course, of course.

Ludwig adored my mother’s game and the next day enthusiastically produced a scarf to tie about his eyes in case he was tempted to open them as he did the day before to see the hedgehog and the lady, but feared if he did so he would be disappointed and cross if they were not there.

On this day, she took his arm and they walked along the edge of a vast rice-paddy on a path lined with bamboo and with trees of coconut, pineapple, and banana and on the horizon a silently erupting volcano, bellowing clouds of white smoke miles high and spewing forth flames and molten liver.

You mean of course, molten lava, Ludwig suggested.

No, she corrected sternly, "did you not hear me say molten, liver. You are not watching properly, or listening correctly."

She stopped and brushed his arm, saying there was a big black beetle crawling on him. He flinched and stopped, saying, Where is it now, where is it? He apparently had a fear of insects, and even the thought of seeing this invisible insect upset him.

Oh, it fell to the ground, my mother stated quickly, and a big cobra snapped it up and ate it. This made him even more nervous, for he had a fear of invisible snakes too.

"Please, he suggested testily, let us have no more crawling crawly creatures in this world today, if you do not mind."

My mother told him equally testily he could not dictate to her what she saw or how she saw it, and if he did, well there was no point in playing the game anymore, and she would take him blindfolded straight to hell if she wished to do so. He laughed and apologised, acknowledging she was quite right.

At the end of half an hour, he still did not want to take the blindfold off, saying he loved to live in this world devised for him only by my mother, and this one of the most interesting walks he had ever taken, with a woman.

Yes, my mother quipped, "walking with a woman, it is quite an eye-opener isn’t it."

"Yes, a great closed eye-opener, and quite a mind-opener for the closed mind. Your game, it may throw all meanings of ‘Gestalt’ on their heads."

Oh yes, I thought it might, my mother commented, making a mental note to look up the exact meaning of Gestalt when she had the chance.

In this game, this language-game, Ludwig stated, using nothing but your own senses and someone else’s imagination, no matter what you say, because you see it too, it is entirely impossible to tell a lie, yet it is all completely a lie, a true lie. In this game of yours you are pointing the way to the introduction of a new meaning to the word seeing and this thrilling... This game could also indicate how reality is not finite, and that there are never ending different sets of realities and variables... here a single entity, everything is exploded by thought.

"My! my mother laughed. Just imagine, all that, and all found in a simple game, and devised by mere schoolgirls too?"

My mother brought him a black silk scarf to wear across his eyes, instead of the thick wooly scarf he complained grew hot and caused his face to itch.

Ludwig never suggested my mother wear the scarf for a trip into his world. He made it very much a one-sided game, she told me, and she felt it probably never occurred to him to give her a turn, and she understood from this just what a spoiled and selfish sort of a schoolboy he possibly was. He treated her game as if it were now his game, somehow something to do with his work, and my mother acting as his research assistant.

She spoke of how Ludwig completely fascinated her, for she had never met anyone quite like him, and never before been to a cinema with anyone who insisted in sitting in the front row centre and who ate nougat from a paper bag but did not offer the bag to her once, so she just helped herself from his bag when she felt like it, which he did not seem to even notice.

My mother told me, she being a bright and amorous girl, almost straight away of course imagined loving Ludwig and him loving her in return, and having a passionate love affair, and very soon, he would ask her to marry him...

However, after a few weeks of getting to know Ludwig better, she thought how marrying this single, singular man might be more like having a congenial, yet overly sensitive and moody much older brother around, or even a father for a husband. She saw Ludwig as a husband she would obviously have to take in hand, sort out, and for whom she would need to take full responsibility. Yet also as a hardworking self-contained man writing his scholarly works, he would leave her to rule the roost and to her own devises, which she thought rather more a plus than not. In her mind, she created a wonderfully romantic reality with Ludwig, while she waited to be kissed.


1986 – San Francisco

Terry Newland stopped by the bookshop (Paperback Traffic, on Polk Street at California.) this afternoon on his motorbike, and after a few pleasantries and slight flirtation on my part, Terry asked if we had sold any more copies of his and U.G. Krishnamurti’s two books, The Mystique of Enlightenment and Mind is a Myth.

We sold five, I told him. "One, Mystique of Enlightenment, and four, Mind is a Myth."

Oh, Terry gave a glum smile, that many.

"Well, I bought another copy of Mind is a Myth which I might send to my mother for her birthday, so four really, but it’s only been what, two months or so? Maybe you should have called them The Mystique of U.G. and U.G. is a Myth."

I do not even think they sold any more at Field’s metaphysical bookshop down in the next block.

Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti, the infamous non-guru, was staying at Terry’s place in Mill Valley as he annually liked to.

Terry greatly respected Krishnamurti, or U.G. as everyone called him, and liked having him to stay, but I think he found U.G. a bit of a handful and U.G.’s actual unique undemanding-ness could be quite demanding for lesser beings in his own particularly intense non-demanding way, especially after a few months stay. Perhaps true the old maxim: a non-guru guru-guest, like a dead fish, after three months stinks.

The last time I met U.G. over in Marin, I asked him, as a courtesy, if it would be okay with him if I transcribed some of his talks and parts of his book, Mind is a Myth into my journal; actually, Terry’s book, for U.G. claims no part in its writing, publication or distribution. U.G. replied he did not care what I did with the book. You can transcribe it, U.G responded, copy it, or stir it into a pot of mulligatawny soup or even Irish stew, for all I give a tinker’s cuss... U.G. is like this, in his use of decidedly superior old school English-Indian lingo.

I wanted to extract into my own journal from U.G. and the volume, U.G.’s core responses to questions during various group meetings without the extraneous chat and bits of stuff I did not care for. U.G. had already stated at the beginning of the book Mind is a Myth:

My teaching, if that is the word you want to use, has no copyright. You are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, and do what you like, even claim authorship, without my consent or the permission of anybody.

"Or, U.G. suggested, you can learn and twist the format around, or learn it parrot-fashion and then bugger off to India, cross your legs on the side of a mountain, look serene, and in no time flat you will have thousands of idiots doing homage to you."

Wow! I laughed happily. That would be great.

Don’t encourage him, Terry called from the kitchen where he was preparing lunch. You might be creating a holy monster, here.

Good! U.G. exclaimed. He can go and join all the other holy monsters over there in India and polluting the rest of the world. He is tall and presentable, with blond hair and dexterous limbs, he’ll do very well as a new Messiah... I’ll even write him a letter of introduction, To whom it may concern. Here is a Mr. Forbes for you, he is your new saviour, please worship him, feed him, house him, and give him your money."

That’s great! Thanks. I think I may take you up on that one sometime. I do yoga, and I think I’d quite like to be sagely; and I can be pretty serene too, you know... when I don’t put my mind to it.

Yes, Terry commented. "I can see it all very clearly; he’ll become overnight a revered holy man, and within three months die from dysentery or cholera then become an even more famous revered dead holy man."

U.G. smiled benignly, I think quite liking the image.

Yes, probably, I agreed and then to change the subject. At first, I will just now and then write bits of the book out in stages, a few pages a day, in bibs and bobs as it were.

Yes, in bits of bibs and bobs, U.G. stated, and that doubtless all it will amount to.

I asked Terry for his permission too, and he replied; Sure, in bibs and bobs, or any way you like; you paid cash for the book, you can do what you want with it, you can even send a copy to your mother for her birthday if you like.

Yes, I think I will.

The poor woman, U.G. added, is that any way to treat a mother?

U.G. and Terry laughed, or maybe they were snickering, for I got the distinct impression they were making fun of me. U.G. seems to like to have someone around whom he can tease and use as the butt of his jokes and mostly perverse sense of humour. I do not mind so much, mind being a myth after all, and so I stayed to lunch anyway even though not formally asked... Does one need an invitation then when amongst friends Do I, or can I consider U.G. and Terry friends, new friends?


1975 – London

Alone in bed last night, conjuring carnal images and scenarios both tasteful and unsavoury, I wondered if the aftermath of abusing the Muse worth the effort and calling in the accident clean-up squad with their mopes, hoses, and buckets of disinfectant. No, I thought as I turned out the light, I can’t-be-asked. My mind once aroused though, as minds will, strayed off, and just when you want it to cut the gab and sleep.

My mind slunk back once more to a few years earlier to Pete, butcher-than-butch Pete, my first yobbo skinhead boyfriend; remembering how we took a bus down South East London way, and how we bumped into Bill Bean, the lanky galoot I was at school with. Bill as usual had Doris with him, his long steady stacked, poxy-doxy from Brockley, S E 4.

They sat side by side, a couple of matey squirrels busily making holes in their pints of bitter down The Crooked Billet Penge, S E 20. I stopped at their table to say hello, and introduced Pete and likewise. I liked Bill at school, he was all right was Bill, steady; you could always rely on Bill. We chatted for a few minutes, and Pete naturally had to tell them how much he hated South East London and how coming this far down into South East London gave him the creeps, and other convivial stuff of the sort. I told them Pete thought south of the river was a completely different country, and Bill agreed, saying, Well he’s right, it is. Then we left them to go order and sit up at the bar for a bit.

A while later, who should walk into the Billet but Bill’s perennially rancorous way-back old girlfriend, Sandra, accompanied by her slaggy friend, Cathy. What they were doing down Penge no one had the faintest, Peckham, S E 15 being their usual stomping ground these days. Looking for a bit of aggro Bill later reckoned.

Well, look what the cat’s dragged in! Doris called over loudly, setting the tone.

Sandra, getting the hatchet-face look early on in life,

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