Miscellaneous Letters

by Edward N. Haas



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 04/06/2001

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.25x11
Page Count : 472
ISBN : 9780759635173

About the Book

This is a collection of fifty-one letters written between February 1982, and February 2001. They were written by a semi-reclusive bachelor now (2001) sixty-five years of age and having no formal education beyond high school. Notwithstanding that lack of schooling, his mental ability has been outstanding enough to have allowed him to exchange a letter or two with such notables as Carl Gustav Jung, Carl Sagan, and F. Scott Peck.

There’s some small talk about life’s commonplace problems; but for the most part, the letters deal with many of the classical questions raised by theology, ethics, epistemology (i.e.: the theory of knowledge), depth psychology, and cosmology. Some of the issues spelled out in these pages are: (1) how love could lead God to create an eternal hell and a world riddled with pain; (2) how the damned wind up in hell as a natural and welcome consequence of their actions rather than as a punishment forced upon them by an "omnipotent ogre in the skies;" (3) The Incarnation’s dramatic effect upon the meaning of "God;" (4) free will; (5) the nature of knowledge and certitude; (6) kinds of necessity; (7) the love of dialectical vs. the love of empirical knowledge; (8) the meaning of faith; (9) how love of dialectics affects the capacity to have faith; (10) the hidden motivation common to all human beings; (11) how that hidden motivation renders most of us far more infatuated with dialectical than with empirical knowledge; (12) the two opposed kinds of self-esteem; (13) violence against abortionists; (14) happiness; (15) the importance of drive versus that of a high I. Q.; and (16) sanctity according to St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Haas.

However technical these letters may be at times, they are, at other times, highly personal letters in which the author reveals the depths of his heart as well as the labyrinthine paths of his mind. The author, an extremely passionate man, is second to none in exposing his entire self to the light.

The individuals addressed by these letters range from college professors to criminals serving time in prison. None were below twenty years of age, and some were over sixty. Possibly, then most adults will find something in these letters of interest to them.

About the Author

The author was born April 13, 1936, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and graduated from Jesuit High School, in New Orleans, in 1953. A single fruitless semester studying music at Loyola University of the South in New Orleans was followed by almost two years of floundering in a sea of confusion, and the author then joined the U. S. Air Force on Dec. 7, 1955. Honorably discharged in April of 1960, the author underwent another two and a half years of floundering so severe, he came extremely close to a mental breakdown. In desperation, he gave away everything he owned and, for thirteen years, took to the life of a wandering hermit. In search of as much time and energy as possible for inner reflection upon self, God, and the nature and purpose of reality, he criss-crossed the United States on foot four times. At first, he lived off of whatever food and clothing he could beg; but, after learning how to live on a dollar a day or less, he turned to working at various monasteries in the winter time in exchange for the two to three hundred dollars required to feed and to clothe himself during the next spring, summer, and fall of walking. The monasteries also provided access to libraries in which he could read, and extract notes from, the great writings of the Catholic Church. In the course of that thirteen-year odyssey, there was a four year period during which he refused to speak to anyone (except on very rare occasions) and communicated only by means of written notes.

In August of 1975, the author’s father lost his mind, and the author’s siblings insisted he was the only one in the family with the time and ability to tend to their father in his hour of need. Thus, after thirteen years, the author’s preferred lifestyle came to an end. Dire poverty then gave way to economic independence, and total seclusion gave way to what little privacy can be enjoyed by bachelors who prefer to avoid partying and to stay home and--as much as possible--to bury themselves in as much reading and writing as the world around them will allow.

After his father’s death in 1981, the author took care of his mother until her death in 1996. In this book, the self-educated author of a dozen self-published books seeks to share with others the avenues of thought down which his mind was lead by thirteen years of heroically intense inner concentration followed by twenty-two years of moderately intense inner concentration.