Destiny

“I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;(80)
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.

-Antonio in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.”

– From Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”

*We all have our own story to tell. Reflecting on the diverse threads of people’s divergent and convergent lives that seem to weave out its own predictabilities and tangents by choice or by chance, I often think that the possibility of alternative universes and dimensions is possible.  Is “random” a term we can even apply to the complexities of our existence? I hardly think so.

Redemption

Though I hardly know whether this blog has lost its objective features, I would still like to believe that it is exploring previously neglected or unnoticed aspects of Truth. That is, perhaps these thoughts have taken on some artistry in expression, rather than anything based on method, which objectivity seems to love. Can aestheticism be objective? What I write, I hope it is not (only) art for art’s sake. I mean it to be taken seriously and not be some ethereal shadow that slips from the mind with age and cynicism.

A concept which holds a pivotal place in my mind, especially in my writings and daily thought, is the notion of redemption. The notion of Man as a fallen race is not just a poetic artifice. One has only to look at the spiritual emptiness of the wealthier nations and the material poverty of the “majority” world to know that humanity is not exactly “wholesome” or “balanced” with regards to a natural order that Wilsonian world leaders all seem to dream about. Perhaps it is our mortality which lends redemption its sweetness, its urgency, its eucastastrophic glory. To be cast into the utmost hell that earth can produce and then to be raised out of it, not by our own strength or worthiness or sudden immunity to the abyss at hand, but by a supernal grace that is life-altering, moving, and timeless. Mikha El.

Why redemption is necessary is a question few moderns are willing to answer. It means admitting to old-fashioned ideas like sin, guilt, flaws – backward ideas that ignore Man the amoral animal, Man the evolved creature, advanced as he is. For them, Man has already reached his all-time low as a cousin of the ape. Therefore, acting any better than his animal counterparts is supererogatory, demanding, even unnatural. He has no need of redemption because he is naturally on the level of beasts. Does this sound right to you?

We need not call it sin, but humanity is everyday painfully aware of its deontological failures towards its race, on both micro and macro scales. Saviour, hero, deliverer, god – what does it matter what we call the means by which we renew and redeem ourselves?  Is it not a noble thing to the risk life and limb itself for your sake, your cause – dying in body or dying in spirit – by sacrifice and by toil, by martyrdom and by love, so that you might live again, however hopeless or cheap or wretched you may account your own abject existence? Such a compelling idea that from human suffering can come intrinsic good, ellipsing despair and obliterating our poor concupiscence!

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.
Taken from C.S. Lewis’ “The Four Loves”

*After all, the throes of hatred are still infused with passion and a life of their own. The antithesis of love is only emptiness, the void that we allow to fill our being, the absence that we have allowed to fill our lives to make them not just dull, but more destructively, apathetic to our own nature. What other hell can there be than to lock our hearts in stone?

In Our Defence

It is better to love than to bear hatred toward anyone. It is better to show compassion and forgiveness than to wallow in bitterness and self-pity. It is better to understand human failing and the nature of mercy than to condemn and cast the first stone. Above all, the choice to renew one’s life and to strive again at perfection (even daring at the angelic, the divine) is better than living in misery and regret, no better than the street curs.

For it is not emotional weakness  or simplicity of mind or lack of character strength that motivates us to choose these intuitions, these passions, these virtues over others, which may be driven by hubris in their negative counterparts (i.e hatred,  stubbornness, etc). Nay, if not to spare us further pain for consequences already paid in full, these virtues do spur us to rebuild our own humanity and to reach at that lofty eudaimonia, that one may say with perfect peace and presence of mind: Yes, I made the right choice as judge of my affairs and my own happiness.

On Fairy Stories

“And if we leave aside for a moment “fantasy,” I do not think that the reader or the maker of fairy-stories need even be ashamed of the “escape” of archaism: of preferring not dragons but horses, castles, sailing-ships, bows and arrows; not only elves, but knights and kings and priests. For it is after all possible for a rational man, after reflection (quite unconnected with fairy-story or romance), to arrive at the condemnation, implicit at least in the mere silence of “escapist” literature, of progressive things like factories, or the machine-guns and bombs that appear to be their most natural and inevitable, dare we say “inexorable,” products.”

-Taken from the famous essay On Fairy Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien in refuting the condemnation of the “escapist” aspect in fantasy or fairy story literature as the rejection of reality.