Tuesday, 18 January 2011

He Shall Spurn Fate, Scorn Death, and Bear His Hopes 'bove Wisdom, Grace and Fear.

There is often a human longing for immortality. Such longing largely explains the cult of celebrity personality we endure: these people are guaranteed a little more of a legacy than most, the extension of the power of the personality over a bit more time, even after death. Our self-awareness married with the instinct to survive concocts a brew of grand imagination: reincarnation, heaven and hell and purgatory, all potential ways for the personality to survive forever. We attend a funeral and lament our own demise, as the story of our lives will inevitably end with death. At the funeral, we think: how much will this person be missed? Am I thinking of this person, or am I thinking of whether or not I will be remembered? How important is it that I am?

Non-duality books, blogs and speakers seem to promise, to the personality, identity, ego or however you care to label it, a guarantee of immortality. This is already eternity and infinity, they say. What you are, truly, is timeless. This is comforting. The ego laps it up eagerly. But the point of awareness that we are, in which all that seems to be appears to rise and fall in, is not a complex personality or a life story filled with highs and lows, joys and sorrows. What we are is simpler than that; but the story that seems to unfold is the great, uncelebrated gift. A gift from itself, to itself, full of sound and fury as the Bard says, and signifying nothing; yet signifying a great deal, by virtue of its mere existence. When it no longer matters whether the personality will continue to exist for a considerable amount of time, when time is only a handy reference, then the personality, perhaps, has the freedom to fully blossom in this illusory, wonderful play of life. Perhaps the point of it all has been just this. Perhaps no point is the biggest point of all.


Now, let's celebrate the enduring immortality of two 2010 celebrity deaths: Peter Graves and Leslie Nielsen. Both coincidentally prematurely white-haired, known for their early serious work, and came to comedy late in life. Below are examples of each actor's early work, and a scene from Airplane! where they exercise their comedy chops. May they both live forever.








19 comments:

Diane said...

Such clarity!

And now...."Perhaps no point is the biggest point of all."

Beautiful!

No One In Particular said...

Thanks Diane.

Anonymous said...

did you know peter graves and james arness (matt dillon of gunsmoke) are brothers? arness is still alive.

saw a segment on 60 minutes about many of these dead celebrities have agents who sell their images to print and media. most are making far more than when they were alive. like elvis, james dean, marilyn monroe etc etc.

Chris said...

"What you are, truly, is timeless. This is comforting. The ego laps it up eagerly."

Spot on. I get the image of a slobby bulldog following behind me, eagerly snuffling up all the bits n pieces I "drop" and regurgitating them in my lap. Coincidentally, I was reading a bit that went something like: If you want a little waking, give up a little, and if you want it fully, give up everything. The absurdity is that on inspection, there really isn't anything there that is mine and could even give up. But that is the way this business is.

No One In Particular said...

Hey Anonymous, yes I did know that Peter Graves and James Arness are brothers. It's definitely the kind of thing I'd know. And there's that immortality theme again...we're worth more dead than alive, and interest in our personality is sparked when we die. If nonduality isn't your thing, this is ironically comforting!

No One In Particular said...

Hey Chris, the good news is, you can't get it wrong because 1) There is no one to get it wrong and 2) Everything is perfect in its apparent unfolding. Let's all relax, shall we?

Anonymous said...

so if there's no afterlife, reincarnation etc how are ghosts explained? jackie o'keeffe dealt with ghosts for a time of her life. richard rose cast an entity out of a guy.
http://www.richardrose.org/ata15.htm

other 'dimensions' but ultimately just appearances as much as this one?

Anonymous said...

Beyond perfect and imperfect; neither perfect nor imperfect said by no-one.

No One In Particular said...

Hi Anonymous no. 1 - the story can indeed be extremely interesting.

No One In Particular said...

Hi Anonymous no. 2 - nicely put.

Chris said...

Relax, yes. As the movie trailers in the olden days suggested: "Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show".

And to anon1, if you want to get a feel for the nature of ghosts and such, have a read of Flatland (from 1884!) - http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/eaa/FL.HTM.

Suzanne - thanks for your clarity.

Chris

No One In Particular said...

Hey Chris, you're welcome, and is Flatland a good plane book? Going to the States on the 7th and am looking for a good read in vain.

Chris said...

Flatland is both a parable on the nature of perception and a social critique. While it is a fascinating read, at a scant 100 pages it would only get you to about Iceland.

Care for "speculative" fiction? As you are a literary sort, Gene Wolfe, Dan Simmons, China Mieville would all get you to the heartland.

Speaking of which, are you sure you want to come this way? It's crawling with crazy people who think they are independent entities! And many are armed.

Chris

No One In Particular said...

Hi Chris, No One is armed here. It doesn't matter what I read as long as it's well written!

Anonymous said...

One flew over the cuckoos nest.
Zorba the Greek.
Best wishes to you and all your kin.

Suki said...

The movie Forbidden Planet,a sci-fi classic from the 1950's era starring Leslie Nielsen and Walter Pidgeon. This movie when I first saw it in the late 60's,I must have been around 5 or 6 at the time,made a lasting impression.The eerie vastness and the sense of ambiguity of this alien landscape triggered my passion for the fantastic and mysterious.Would be decades later that I came to know that Leslie Nielsen,master of parody with his signature deadpan humor,had a key role in this auspicious(to me anyway) movie.Thanks for writing what you write.
- Suki

No One In Particular said...

Hey Suki, I trawled the internet in vain to get an embeddable clip of Forbidden Planet. It would have gone so well with Peter Graves and co. coping with aliens!

Darla said...

Wonderful turn of phrase . . . "Our self-awareness married with the instinct to survive concocts a brew of grand imagination . . . "

No One In Particular said...

Thanks Darla.