We haven’t reached the spiritual vertigo of Zarathustra, for in his abundance of knowledge became weary of too much wisdom; nor are we broken down by so much grief as Titus had to endure. We are not too small to be completely insignificant, nor great enough to awake with daily pride. Our real circumstances are somewhere in between the extremities, our toils are not fully tragic or heroic.
We battle through the repetitions of the calendar and if we strive to send out a message, a moral for our collected personal histories, what unclouded expression can give meaning to the facts of our plainer existence? What, for instance, is the final message of the universally acclaimed films of Forrest Gump or Amelie? What feature in their unwinding plots seizes the spectator’s mind-body and synchronizes its fictitious reality with our own living novels? The former film is a wonderful exposition of the Ying-Yang character of any human life, yet in the end the legendary up-and-down events of Gump’s life become simply a background for the truly memorable moments of his life as he describes them to his life-long love: gazing at the stars at night, contemplating a sunrise, running by a crystalline lake, and surveying without distinction the earth and sky. The latter film from the onset exposes a lover of life in her most basic and simple experiences: sticking a hand into a sack of beans or skipping pebbles on water.
For both films, besides the eternal search for love, these aforementioned singular and unpretentious experiences somehow seem to magically justify the turmoil of existence, our inevitable mortality and the lurking solitude that hides away in every human heart.
But while Zarathustra, Titus, Forrest and Amelie lie tranquilly behind the surface of a book’s page or the film’s screen, what is for the true mortal being the climax of his life? When do we find the ultimate recognition of our satisfaction, and if we do, are we able to leave behind forever the racing dream that we have called our daily reality? In other words, once we find a simple reason for our being, can we then allow it to return to non-being?
The search for fulfillment needs not reach the extremes of intellectual inquiry of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra or the emotional explosiveness of Shakespeare’s Titus, perhaps our day to day lifestyle will be enough if it be endowed with sufficient awareness, a recognition that behind our meals, offices hours and snoring sleep an intuitive beauty akin to what Forrest and Amelie felt in their rudimentary experiences is available to us.
After all, is not the triviality of the familiar set before the grand theater of stars and galaxies? Is it so surprising that this world as it is, is just enough, that we need seek no more, progress no further, attain nothing more…
Had today been the last day of this earth and we the living saw and participated in the last scene of this earthly play, would not every last smile turn into a divine sign, every last meal a most sacred ritual, every last conversation a most treasured bible, every last kiss a most unnatural miracle.
The potential of the ordinary is quite extraordinary once we acknowledge how rare and marvelous is our neglected existence.
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