So said Mel Brooks: still alive and kicking, working, and doing his level best to both be (and to do) whatever he’s capable of (at the age of 96) and, still, asking questions born out of the very best Jewish sense of Life as being (sometimes) something of a dark comedy. His Movies have. always, featured (at some point) their main character sitting, staring into the middle distance, and wondering just where did things go wrong. And, if you haven’t ever found yourself in that position, then you’re still some way off that ancient dictum: “Know Thy Self: the unexamined life is not worth living.” And, anyway, how do we know if Shaw and Einstein did ‘beat’ their demise, along with the countless others who are about to take their last breath?
Well, anyone who’s received a message, via a Medium, from a discarnate loved one (or an apology from one who regrets not being more loving) will have few doubts about that! And anyone who remembers having done it before, and come back to rectify matters, will have none.
Time is of the essence, in the length of Life every one of us has been gifted with: and, if nothing else, should be a dedicated learning zone, to get us out of repeating the ‘mistakes’ in our past ones. ‘Sin’ is an oftentimes misinterpreted word, originally meaning ‘missing the mark,’ emerging out of the sport of Archery, and being kidnapped by various religions. And, in much the same way, as the fundamentals of the much more wholesome understandings of paganism had been .And how do we know
Which is why all of us have a need, from time to time, to sit and stare into the middle distance and think about how we got here, there, and everywhere! And, if it’s still the kind of place we should be getting to?
Rodin’s sculpture of ‘The Thinker’ was conceived as a representation of Dante Alighieri, conjuring up his epic poem about the fate of humankind, in an attempt to integrate as many of the ‘kinds’ he could imagine. Oh Yes, for there are many: as well as what has become an image that best symbolises philosophy.
Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy,’ written in 1308 and completed in 1321) is an apt title for any work that carries (deep within it) the possibility of a happy ending-however long it takes! And its purpose being (from his perspective as a theologist and a philosopher) to reveal the very different routes that our Soul’s might take, because of our own choices. The first part has himself being lost in a forest; and not knowing how he got there.
“When I had journeyed half of our life’s way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray.”
And which, being so redolent of Robert Frost’s often quoted poem: “The Road Less Travelled,” and a reminder of our own journey, which made “all the difference.”
In The Divine Comedy, written in three parts, and based on Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, the Poet is accompanied by Virgil (himself an earlier much lauded Classical Roman one) who had written the Bucolics, the Georgics and the Aeneid and was a testament to the kind of human being who delves from the deepest depths to the highest of heights.
His education had begun at the incredibly early age of 5, when he was sent to Rome, to study philosophy, medicine and astronomy, but who was never to ignore the richness in the lives of those who earned their living in more humble ways. THINK ON: JUST FIVE YEARS OLD.
And, having been chosen by Dante to accompany him through the Nine Spheres, making up the whole journey, revealing how much all of us NEED to inform our Selves! As both Shaw and Einstein did: and Mel Brooks keeps trying, along with most of the rest of Us!
O.K, we’ll not see many of us looking like this, in these days; but a very big question is lurking on the sidelines. WHY, in the 21st Century, are our children not being made aware of WHO we are, WHAT we might become; and WHERE to find the necessary information to fulfil their potential? NOT to be encouraged to do just this, is a way of confining us to Dante’s Third Sphere of Venus concerning the importance of ‘societal diversity’ and including people from different back grounds, who have the willingness to debate why they think as they do.
And just WHEN is that going to emerge from where the answers are stored? Very much overdue, if you ask me!
And , having just begun to SERIOUSLY read ‘The Divine Comedy,’ reflecting on the impact it made when it was discovered by Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats, when a translation by Henry Cary was published in 1804, I’m astonished by the originality of its structure and understanding of Dante’s own life (1265-1321) and its relevance to the 21st century.
The Motto of Eton College (known as ‘the nurse of England’s statesmen, at a cost of £15,432 a year) is ‘May Eton Flourish’ (and, very probably, where an introduction to this celebrated Poet which leads up to a more extensive study, at many Universities will be studied, is hardly likely to open up its coffers to the less literate masses!
And, while a Rudolph Steiner school costs less-starting at £3,756 for the lower school, and rising to £7,164 for the upper level, with its Motto ‘Being the Change We Want to Be,’ we are going to need many more of such schools, to reach that level of thinking.
So, why, with both curriculums available, is it that State Education is so very limited; and what’s currently being taught in Universities, so lamentably outdated?
Just think on how all of Us could change so much in an almost ‘twinkling of an eye,’ if we took back that vision (on the point of our own physical death) as a Something to bring back, on our return; and wearing a tee-shirt emblazoned with the words: ” Been There. Done That. Sorted” instead of the mostly distributed one, bearing the words “Same Old! Same Old! Same Old.”
Now, get thee to reading ‘The Only Planet of Choice,’ published by Gateway Press, and edited by the still motoring-on Palden Jenkins (despite the most challenging health conditions)- and from which I quote:
But not before reminding us all about where we live in such brief sojourns
“Planet Earth is the only one of its kind, the only planet of free (individualised) choice in the entire universe, the planet created for the balancing of the spiritual with the physical: in other words, the creating of paradise….. there is no other planet in existence that has the physical characteristics of Planet Earth. It is the rarest of beauties; and it does attract Souls which (once they have come) would like to come back again. It is like a composite of the Universe, with all of the positive and all the negative aspects (and all the in between) and this is what attracts Souls.”
The World is a Happening Event; a place where we come, to explore all of the things that have never happened, until they have happened to each of Us. That’s what Empathy is all about: and balancing in the way only a spiritual perspective can bring. For, as is said: “Religion is for those who are scared of going to Hell. Spirituality is for those who’ve already been; and don’t want to go again.”
Which brings us back to Dante (and his like) charting the ways that we can either do, or not do it: and, in the words of someone who had: “Nobody else is going to do it for us.” And, maybe, a long contemplation of what we might have done, when the time was right.
As Chief Seattle said: “There is no death, only a change of worlds.” And it’s this that, all of us, have a need to wake up to. And (as both Shaw, Einstein and, eventually, Mel Brooks) and every one who’s made the transition already knows.
One kind of transition (which hadn’t involved dying) was made when the Apollo spacecraft landed on the Moon; and changing the perspective of every one of its crew. Edgar Mitchell was to say: “I theorise that there is a spectrum of consciousness available to human beings. At one end is material consciousness. At the other end is what we call ‘field’ consciousness, where a person is at one with the universe, perceiving the universe. Just by looking at our planet, on the way back, I saw or felt a field consciousness state….you develop a global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. from out there, on the Moon, international politics looked so petty.”
Some years ago, in conversation with a rather famous Cook, we devised a dinner party menu, and guest list, for a variety of historical characters. I’ve since revised it to the following:
Jesus, Socrates, Pythagoras, Cleopatra, Dante, St, Theresa, Isaac Newton, George Washington, Sylvia Plath, Roy Fisher, Leonard Bernstein, Edgar Mitchell, Margaret Mead and Margaret Atwood. Just for Starters! And with each of them in the ‘personality’ they were, when they were ‘alive’ in their historical time; and the wine flowing.
If very one of us has been another ‘someone’ in every one of our previous lives, SURELY, education (in our current ones) should start by eliciting what we ALREADY know, and building on that?