[L. 32 | 39] 23 November 1963

Kierkegaard's attitude towards his books was that nobody was competent to review them except himself—which, in fact, he proceeded to do, his later works containing a review of his earlier ones. I have much the same attitude towards the Notes.

The last section of the NotesFUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURE—is really a remarkably elegant piece of work, almost entirely original, and also quite possibly correct. I am obliged to say this myself, since it is highly improbable that anybody else will. It is most unlikely that anyone will make anything of it. The reason that I do not want to leave it out is principally that it provides a formal demonstration of certain structural features (intention and reflexion, for example) to which frequent appeal is made in the earlier part of the Notes, and so long as the demonstration is there, these features (whose existence it is fashionable, in certain circles, to ignore) cannot simply be dismissed as fictions. Besides, it always inspires confidence in an author if he has a few pages of incomprehensible calculations at the end of his book.

I thank you for hoping that I am in good condition; and, indeed, I should be only too delighted to be able to oblige. But the fact of the matter, alas! is that I am really very much as I was before. The troublesome erotic stimulation continues as before. Morale remains rather precarious. I have to recognize the ominous fact that I have now given up all hope of making any further progress for myself in this life.

This means that my reason for continuing to live is more or less dependent upon outside circumstances (at present, mostly upon business of one kind or another connected with the Notes, or upon an occasional windfall in the form of an interesting book). And all these external things are highly insecure. Once they go (as they may do at any time), I shall be left with no very good reason for continuing to live, and quite a good one for discontinuing. However, the situation does not cause me sleepless nights, and, really, nobody will be less distressed by my absence than I shall.

In any case, my present position has a great advantage: it gives me the freedom to say whatever I think needs saying without troubling whether I am making myself unpopular in the process. Unfortunately, however, reckless outspokenness on the subject of the Dhamma does not seem, in Ceylon, to produce unpopularity at all—rather the contrary. A certain Venerable Thera, on receiving a copy of the Notes—which condemns, point by point, almost everything in a published book of his—has written an amiably inconsistent eulogy of the Notes, commending Mr. Samaratunga's intentions to print it, and giving names of people to whom it might well be sent. (The point is, of course, that he wrote his book not out of any heartfelt conviction, but simply in accordance with the established tradition—and, I may say, did it very competently. And, being safe in the anonymity of the tradition, he does not feel that the Notes apply to him personally.)