Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

God Made Mud

Originally posted on August 10, 2015

I must confess that this passage from Chapter 99, page 149, of Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s  1973 novel, “Cat’s Cradle” appeals to me. I’d like to have it read at my funeral. It’s from his imaginary religion of “Bokononism,” which says that all religions are based on lies. I am a flagrant myth-maker, who nevertheless aligns with certain stories, such as this.

God made mud. God got lonesome. So God said to some of the mud, “Sit up!” “See all I’ve made! The sea, the hills, the sky, the stars!”
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around. Lucky me. Lucky mud! I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done. “Nice going, God!” “Nobody but you could have done it, God. I certainly couldn’t have!
“I feel very unimportant compared to you.”
“The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn’t even get to sit up and look around! I got so much and most mud got so little. Thank you for the honor.”
“Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep. What memories for mud to have! What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met! I loved everything I saw.
“Good night. I will go to heaven now. I can hardly wait: To find out for certain what my wampeter was. And who was in my karass. And all the good things our karass did for you. Amen.”

Vonnegut is unabashed in his non-religiosity. This is far from saying that he dismisses all truth that transcends material fact. It just that on reflection he is, as I am, apophatic. He doesn’t use that word and I only discovered it around 2013. It means to me that I don’t assume that I can begin to begin to understand the Becoming Everything. The truths that count cannot be put into words, nor can they be known clearly or completely by the human mind, or even some super-organism that is a hundred times more intelligent. So we myth-make. This book is flagrant in its mythmaking. So, I am especially charmed by Vonnegut’s final death prayer. It may be said by a friend if the dying person cannot, or even after one’s death.

One Response to “God Made Mud”

  • David Blatner says:

    I agree; this is one of my favorite passages in literature. He coined a number of other words, too, such as wampeter and karass. These relate very loosely with the concept of dharma. The wampeter is (loosely) the idea of “what I’ve manifested here on the planet to do,” and the karass is my team of souls that have manifested to achieve that goal. We almost never know either one — your family members may or may not be in your karass, maybe a friend, or perhaps a stranger you see on the street who inspires you to do something unexpected. Like, what if we were all on crack special forces teams, on Earth to do something, but we don’t (consciously) know what we’re supposed to do.

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