To Eckhart Tolle’s Parents (first letter)

Who are you people and what did you do to your son?
The same ambiguities (omissions?) remain consistent despite (because of?) the media glare. The same underdeveloped storyline is repeated. Were you Nazis? Janitors? Bankers? Soldiers? Communists? Drunkards? Invalid Resisters? What did you expect from him during the rebuilding?
Were you Werewolves in the rubble? Did humiliating years of utter defeat slip by until the baby? Were you of that silent generation unable to morn or apologize? Did you return to your everyday lives as if nothing had happened in Germany since the 19th century?
Perhaps Eckhart was a disappointing specimen, a sickly caricature of an ideal, a reminder of weakness and inadequacy. He laughs as if scarred, as if his gestures are reflexive, as if they are not his own, as if they were triggered by degradations he has consciously forgotten. Maybe people identify with him because he is somehow able to dramatize outwardly a common but still unspoken bondage, a generically modern type of damage to the self that digs in deeper and earlier into one’s life than any construction of ego. Are you still alive? Are you proud of what he has accomplished?
Did he look at you with disgust, with incomprehension? Did he know too little or too much? Why the schooling abroad, the overwhelming despair, that supposed intimacy with suffering? Why did he drop out? Did he drop out? How does one live in an English urban park without income for all those years? What did he think of the Bader-Meinhof gang?
Did he talk about Jesus much at the kitchen table? Did he sometimes drift off as if arrested by a vision, an intuitive insight, the answer to everything?
Did he talk about time much, the beginning and the end, the idea of the eternal? Did you give him grounds to judge you? Would he look for a platform?
Would he one day forsake you altogether, as if you were phantoms of the past or the future, as if you were part of this human problem he has been wiggling out of for decades.  He has escaped the past and future.  He exists always in the present with the wisdom of the ages.  Have you seen him on TV and the web?
He lives here in Vancouver these days. I’ve imagined him walking along the sea wall enjoying the moment. He has learned a great deal from this blandly provincial, new-money mecca.
This city we live in appropriates authenticity, class warfare, the dissolution of nature/culture dichotomies, conceptions of the sublime. It seems to knowingly ground his beige wardrobe and lack of spontaneity.
Did he ever write to you? Does he know where you’ve been and what you have done? Do you exist for him now?
jeremy