interesting — to me! — conversation with a Brucist

when I was in Albany the people downstairs from me — transport engineering grad students from Iran — were Brucists, members of a small religion that believed the Infinite One took human form in the person of a seller of stamps and other collectibles from Brooklyn named Bruce Feldman, who passed on in 1930. I asked him why the infinite one would take such a particular form of finitude to express itself in.

His answer:

The infinite will always express itself by means of finite characteristics that do not do justice to the infinite, because they are finite, and how can the limited encompass the unlimited? However there are two kinds of such characteristics. The first type are those characteristics that serve as models for our search, from the finite, for the infinite. Such as the fact that Bruce sold stamps, which are a perfect symbol of starting in one place and because of having the correct semiosis or signs, traveling someplace else. The second type, are those characteristics that are random or arbitrary, for example the fact that his name is Bruce, which is a detail of the finite which bears only the marks of the finite. The second type serve simply to teach us that the finite is not the infinite, that it is limited and in a sense arbitrary, in other words, that the finite is in fact finite. Although since the purpose of learning that the finite is in fact finite is to know and seek its opposite — the Infinite — the second type of characteristic is actually just another version of the first.

I said I did not believe in Bruce.

He said, you believe in the Infinite One?

I said, sure.

He said — then you have the same problem. The human being is a creation of the Infinite. Some of his features — that he can conceive of the Infinite — bear the marks of his maker. Others — that he has ten fingers rather than eight or twelve, do not. Yet both lead us to our source.

And what about those who think the Infinite is mindless and purposeless? What is the difference between a Limtless one whose mind and purpose are unknown, because Infinite, and one that simply lacks mind and purpose.

Bruce be Praised!, he said smilingly, and took me down to his room where he and his wife made me rice with chicken and pomegranites and lit incense before a three-cent stamp.


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