This I believe
I’ve been very busy with an exciting project, so my reading of Imagine has had to wait.
But in the meantime, I thought I’d post my favorite quotation of all. It’s been a credo and an inspiration for me for many years. It’s from T. H. White’s marvelous novel The Once and Future King.
Wart (who doesn’t know he is the future King Arthur) is angry and depressed because his foster brother Kay will become a knight, while he will only serve Kay as his squire. Merlyn, Wart’s magical teacher, consoles him:
The best thing for being sad…is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder in your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn….That is the only thing that the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.
Hey Bev. Thinking about myths along with you, what do you suppose Sisyphus would have said about the consolation of learning?
Hi, Bob. Well, he might have spent his eternity of drudgery learning about the birds that flew over his mountain, or the vegetation on it, or noticing which muscles he used in rolling the stone up the hill, or timing its rolling down again and calculating the effect of wind and weather on its velocity…
When our daughter was small, we outlawed boredom in our house. There’s always something to learn.
I like what you say about Sisyphus, Bev, as well as The Once and Future King quote as a whole. Camus wrote: “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s
heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
For yet more mythology references, here’s a poem.
“Oh, How the Gods Must Laugh!”
And were I Sisyphus who would blame me
If I sat upon the ground and wept
To see the stone crash down upon my dreams
And blame myself, and curse the weakness in my soul
And yet, who knows
What strength is needed at the final lip
When all the gods are bent upon the punishment of
Some long forgotten sin?
And were I chained to the mountain
Would I dread the more the day of birds
Or the night of growing?
And who would set me free?
Or does salvation lie
Within the moment
Of surrender to the moment?
Rising up to walk the path down
To beginning of endeavor.
Knowing I must strive,
And knowing I must fail,
I put my shoulder to the stone
And there is heavenly fire within
Shining out Pandora’s jewel.
Beautiful! Thanks, Barbara.