Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In my infinite recesses of time, I have recently managed to read “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran and it is without a doubt worth mentioning. It was triggered by the mention of Nietzsche in a previous post because this book in a broad sense followed the same format as “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” but with much more down to earth rational and spirituality. It is however, not less prolific because of it. This book addresses a serious of issues spoke by a prophet, and Is written very poetically and skillfully. It’s also a pretty short read, and comes complete with William Blake-ish pictures to compliment the age old questions of man. Things like “good and evil” and “time” and many more questions are examined in a very spiritual way, maybe somewhat religious, but in a good way. The writing is almost soothing and ethical and its teachings are serene and peaceful. It is a book that will become more useful as time passes and is a good reminder to us all of the things that are really important; the things that really bring satisfaction especially in times of grief or struggle.
“And a woman spoke, saying, "Tell us of Pain."
And he said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears. “
This prophet also challenges a lot of the binaries that we experience in our everyday lives, and addressed them and then reverses them, opening up a doorway to new thought. In examples like this one he challenges the pleasure/pain binary and shows us that the only way we can experience and know pleasure is through feeling pain. He does this same thing with good and evil, death and life and other basic binaries that contain our the basic structure of our lives. It extracts the raw essence of all the substantial elements in one’s life and through teaching and questioning it forces someone to open their eyes to a light that they may not have seen before and an acceptance of realities they may have resisted before such as pain or death. There are underlying tones of many philosophical elements in each sentence which adds to the creation of a world that is more raw and real, and at the same time more forgiving and peaceful, taking all that we truly are as a main focus rather than what we obtain or contain today or tomorrow or yesterday. Khalil Gibran captures the everlasting breath of the earth and releases it through "the prophet". -and just to be clear it is not some silly religious garbage although it is spiritual and posesses something that is penetrating and soothing to the soul.

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