Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Jonathon Livingston Seagull (Richard Bach)

This is a wonderfully inspirational little book. Packed into a small space with important messages scattered throughout. There are, I think, a couple of key messages the book conveys in very simple and easy to understand allegory.

The first is the need for less regard for the overly critical opinions and judgments of society. These systems unfortunately serve to discourage real personal discovery and development. Our society tends to encourage individuals not to follow their dreams and instead become cogs of the machinery of established socioeconomic-political structures: "Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock?"

But perhaps the single most important message is the quest for personal knowledge and understanding. It seems one of the greatest things we can do with our lives is to cultivate a flexible, receptive, inquiring, and compassionate mind that is able to suspend judgment and criticism in order to see things with fresh eyes free of preconceived notions and ideas. And then pointing that penetrating vision at ourselves.

The book is split into three parts. In part one we have the quest, search, or struggle. In part two we have realization and higher knowledge. In part three we have sharing our discoveries and knowledge with others. In this division there are strong parallels to the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell and his book The Hero's Journey.

The Great Gull said it best: "It's strange. The gulls who scorn perfection for the sake of travel go nowhere, slowly. Those that put aside travel for the sake of perfection go anywhere instantly."

A beautiful little book.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Dude, what a great read your blog should think bigger..a book, a diary perhaps!

“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you're alive, it isn't.”

"Here were gulls who thought like he thought. For each of them, the most important thing in living was to reach out and touch perfection in that which they most loved to do, and that was to fly." we go!