Ginsberg: Yes. And I certainly willncontradict myself.nLofton: This will be one of yournrnultitudes — the ability to contradictnyourself.nGinsberg: That’s what Whitman isnsaying.nLofton: It’s gibberish.nGinsberg: That our own minds are sonvast that we can wind up contradictingnourselves without having to freak-outnabout it. It’s very similar to what thenpoet John Keats said about negativencapability. He said the quality of a veryngreat poet like Shakespeare was hisnability to contain opposite ideas in thenmind without an irritable reaching outnafter fact and reason. Meaning thatnthat part of the mind which judges, andnirritably insists on either black or white,nis only a small part of the mind. Thenlarger mind observes the contradiction,nand contains those contradictions. Thenmind that notices that it contradictsnitself is bigger than the smaller mindnthat is taking one side or the other.nLofton: You speak very confidentlynabout this. Where do you get yournideas about what the mind is?nGinsberg: By the direct observationnthrough meditation practice.nLofton: But, at most, this would tellnyou only about your mind, wouldn’t it?nYou were making statements about thenmind.nGinsberg: Well, then there is thenexperience of many people who havenmeditated and written about it overncenturies also.nLofton: But this would still be only thenexperience of these individual minds,nwouldn’t it?nGinsberg: I should say I noticed thisnabout my mind and John Keats noticednit about his mind. … Sure, you mightnwant to check out which side is right,nwhich judgment is right, but when younget irritable about it, and insist on onenor the other, black or white, it’s likelynyou’ll eliminate some informationnfrom both sides. Like, for instance, I’mnJewish and I’ve been to Israel —nLofton: You’re Jewish? You practicenthe Jewish religion?nGinsberg: No. I consider myself culturallynJewish.nLofton: I thought being Jewish was anreligion.nGinsberg: Einstein was not a practitioner,nbut he was Jewish.nLofton: What made him Jewish?n50/CHRONICLESnGinsberg: He thought he was Jewish.nLofton: Is that all you have to do, justnthink you’re Jewish?nGinsberg: Pretty much so. Or to benborn of a family.nLofton: Do you believe in the God ofnAbraham, Isaac, and Jacob?nGinsberg: I don’t think — my positionnis more nontheistic than yours, I think.nYou feel Einstein was not Jewish?nLofton: As I say, my understanding isnthat being Jewish is a religion.nGinsberg: No, it’s also cultural. That’snmy understanding as a Jew.nLofton: But this certainly doesn’tncomport with what Abraham, Isaac, ornJacob understood a Jew to be.nGinsberg: Maybe.nLofton: Maybe?nGinsberg: But on the other hand,nthere is an old tradition of the European,ncosmopolitan, delicatessen intellectualsnlike Heinrich Heine, ThorhasnMann, Einstein, and Freud, who werenalways considered Jewish and heroes ofn19th- and 20th-century Jewish culture.nThey weren’t necessarily orthodox, butnsocially Jewish.nLofton: You know what? I’m morenJewish than you.nGinsberg: It may be, because younhave more adherence to what they callnthe Judeo-Christian tradition to thenextent that it is called monotheism.nLofton: No, no, no. As Christian I amnmore Jewish than you because I believenin the Old Testament.nGinsberg: I see. Well, I think the OldnTestament is great. But —nLofton: It’s great? What does thatnmean?nGinsberg: Some of the greatest writingndone by human hands.nLofton: Oh, don’t patronize it. Is itnnntrue? Is it divinely inspired?nGinsberg: The one thing I can say isnthat it was written by human hands.nLofton: But how do you know this?nHow do you know chimpanzees didn’tnpound it out on a series of countlessntypewriters?nGinsberg: I think they have some oldnAramaic transcripts, don’t they? . . .nLofton: Do you believe the humannhands you say you believe wrote thosenmanuscripts were guided by God’snspirit, as these manuscripts say?n[He shrugs.]nWhy do you shrug, as if this is a matternof no importance?nGinsberg: You know what that’s like?nIf you’ve got a full-grown goose insidena bottle with a narrow neck, how donyou get the goose out without breakingnthe bottle or injuring the goose?nLofton: And how is the question ofnthe divine inspiration of the Old Testamentnlike your goose in this bottle?nGinsberg: If you can get the goose outnof the bottle, I’ll answer your question.nCan you get the goose out? . . .nLofton: It’s nonsense.nGinsberg: No, it isn’t. You want me tonget the goose out of the bottle?nLofton: No.nGinsberg: You want the goose to staynin the bottle?nLofton: I’d like to know how you gotnthis goose in the bottle.nGinsberg: The way I’m going to takenit out. [He claps his hands]. It’s out! Itnwas put in with words. And it’s takennout with words. . . . The point is notnto confuse a verbal paradigm or conceptualnstatement with an event. …nLofton: Did God give Moses anything?nGinsberg: I don’t know. I wasn’tnthere. Somebody wrote down that Hendid.nLofton: But you either believe He didnor He didn’t.nGinsberg: No.nLofton: No? What’s the third possibility?nGinsberg: If you have a choice betweenntwo things, take both.nLofton: Even if they contradict eachnother?nGinsberg: Do I contradict myself?nVery well, I contradict myself. I amnlarge. I contain multitudes. That’s thenwhole point of that.nLofton: You do not believe in a law ofnmutual contradiction? You believen