Monday, March 16, 2009

Should I stay or Should I go?

Should I Stay Or Should I Go is the title for an old song by the Clash and it's fitting for what I want to talk about in this post.

It is a neverending question that spins around philosophers. Do you search for the meaning of life within yourself or do you travel and quest to find it? Of course it seems to me that both are necessary. And Paolo Coelho, in his famous book The Alchemist he lays out an excellent answer to this question. And I won't tell you about what he says or how he says it just in case you want to read the book and discover for yourself.

But I want to propose that both are absolutely necessary and here are my arguments for the case.

What would you be like if you were born in a cardboard box? ( The Box Man: A Novel )
And your whole life you lived in this box? The sum total of your experience would be what you experienced within the four cardboard walls. What would your internal dialogue be like? What information had you gathered to help you understand yourself and the world? For one thing the world is, to your experience very simple and small, corrugated and smelling of processed paper.

So, this is a good argument for adventuring out into the world and gathering data and experiences, of which in this world, there is an abundance. And this experiencing isn't just hedonistic. They are important because they enrich you and make you more capable.

But it goes beyond this. Because I believe there are places in the world that are something more than they appear to be. There are places in this world where the wall between what is, and what appears to be, is very thin. The ancient Celts had a name for places like this. They called them thin places.

So, you need both the internal and the external, and the two have to compliment and help each other. You can't just sit in one place and discover the truth and you can't just adventure out looking for the truth. This is the truth.

About Thin Places

I have been working on my third novel for quite a while now and it will be finished soon, the pieces are falling together. But, what I want to say is that well before I heard about thin places A portion of my novel takes place in this large stone structure that juts up into the air. At the top of this structure is a monastery. In the novel I call it Speyer after a town in Germany.

The thing about this place is that I thought I created it on my own. And its a funny thing how just a few days ago I discovered a thin place called Skellig Michael in Ireland. And it has me wondering, because I am Irish, if there is something more to what I have written down in my novel. Is it just a coincidence that I "created" my own Skellig Michael? Or have I been there before?

Anyway, It is now on my list of places to visit.

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