08 Mar On the Road with Jack Kerouac – God is Pooh Bear
Towards the very end of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel On the Road, he writes several memorable lines, which he read famously on The Steve Allen Show in 1956. One passage is as follows:
“In Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh-Bear?…
The comment that God is Pooh-Bear has caused a lot of confusion over the years, with many people claiming that Kerouac thinks that God is a fiction. But to believe that Jack Kerouac felt that God was a figment of our imaginations is to terribly misread him. The so called “King of the Beats” felt God intensely, within each and every hobo, wino, and hard-luck soul he met.
Kerouac defined being “beat” as being reduced to the essentials. But what does that really mean? And why was Kerouac so attracted to people who were beat? Those who have read Benjamin Hoff’s Tao of Pooh probably have an intimation of the answer. In Hoff’s book we learn how Winnie the Pooh is symbolic of the sage who lives in the immediate moment.
When we are reduced to the essentials (beat) we have no choice but to live inside the immediate moment, and thus are close to God, as is revealed by Jesus’s parables of spontaneity. Close to God, though, does not translate to Being with God. For that to occur we must let charity, patience, and love drive our actions rather than the demands of the ego.
We must throw ourselves into the spontaneity of Christ (our true selves), as so often Pooh does in service to his friends and neighbors, without ever giving it a second thought.
To read about William Butler Yeats and Christ’s Second Coming please go to: Jesus’s Second Coming.