Burgess Laughlin, RIP

Monday, September 22, 2014

This weekend I was saddened to learn, belatedly, that Burgess Laughlin passed away at the end of August. I knew Mr. Laughlin only through some of his writings and the comments he left here from time to time. Nevertheless, it was clear to me that he was a thoughtful, independent, and benevolent man. He took ideas seriously, all the way from being sure to understand them properly, through to applying them to his own life. This latter included helping others -- including me on more than one occasion -- see the truth for ourselves. One of the best examples of this that I know of can be found in his blog posting on "The Third Greatest Sacrifice?", which reads, in part:

I asked him why he was unhappy. "Because," he said, "what I most want in life is to do something creative, like writing novels."

I asked, "Why don't you make that your central purpose in life, and throw yourself into the work full-time?"

He gestured to the walls of his living room, lined with paintings and the best of sound systems, a way of living that a beginning novelist could not afford. He said, "Learning to write novels could take decades of full-time effort. I would have to give up all this."

I was too stunned to respond. Now, with better understanding of the issue, I would reply: "So what?"
Although I did not know Mr. Laughlin personally, I found it reassuring just to know that he was out there, fighting the good fight -- or, as he put it so well, "making progress". And, although he is gone, he has left the world a better place for all his friends, in the form of the better understanding he imparted to us and the inspiration his success provides.

-- CAV


Scott Holleran said...

Well said.

Gus Van Horn said...


Nicholas Provenzo said...

Mr. Laughlin was a true gentleman. I enjoyed your short tribute.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thank you, Nick.