“To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep, No more; and by a sleep …to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause—there’s the respect That makes calamity of so long life. For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th’unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovere’d country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pitch and moment With this regard their currents turn awry And lose the name of action.” Shakespeare from Hamlet
“It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.” Julius Caesar
This has resonated with me since childhood. Loved the move What Dreams May Come and of course I remember Khans incessant Shakespeare quotes in Star Trek The Undiscovered Country. Reminds me of Brave heart’s “Every man dies but not every man really lives”
“Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws, and asks no omen, but his country’s cause” Homer
Really? What are we if not blind stumbling through life if there is no principle to guide us? Where do we draw our meaning out of existence? Easley we may say God our families and trying to live a good life, be kind to others, our careers, friends, community and the like of such other responses.
Are these not just the actions of life? Where is the meaning behind these actions? If we are free to be as we think we should, then by what measure do we hold our selves accountable? I purpose that there is something deeper to life, something enriching beyond all measure that fulfills our actions and makes them complete.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah (a promise from God)
For me it is the pursuit of truth. The idea that there is a love greater than my own that can lead to a greater passion for my family, friends, community etc. As for me “I will fight the good fight” – Paul.
“Short is my date, but deathless my renown” – Homer
Why is it that we are drawn to tales of valor? What is the appeal of it to us? Perhaps, as small boys emulate their heroes in play we see the character we desire for our selves?
“We fight a war not of flesh and blood but of Principia” – Paul
“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew
“Who has a harder fight than he who is striving to overcome himself.” – Thomas Kempis
“Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
So week and whimsical are our emotions. To believe that they can sustain us or that our principle should be derived from them is fallacy. While we are human we can benefit from them but they should not control us or dictate our belief. A principle however is unchanging, universal and not relative. If this is agreed, then the real question here is, what principle?
“A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
“All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace” Thomas Kempis
“For a small reward, a man will hurry away on a long journey; while for eternal life, many will hardly take a single step” Thomas Kempis
We chase after so many different things in this world, which is not necessarily a bad thing but “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew If we honestly reflect on our selves can we really discern what is the most important to us?
“A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” Plato
“Where so ever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius One hand Confucius is right, we should do this, but on the other how do we know our heart is in the right place? It’s easy to distract our selves with the daily going on’s without any real thought about what we are doing. I know I have been guilty of considering for a moment something heavy and quickly dismissing it…. something I didn’t want to dwell on. But why? Was I just to busy, already had the answer, or was there a hint of fear some where?
“Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.” Napoleon Bonaparte
“You rogues, do you want to live for ever” Fredric the Great
Even after a defeat Fredric was unwilling to give up the fight. There is no greater defeat than to either succumb to cowardice or to never pour ones whole soul into his love. I have heard some say “I have tried” or “I have searched” or “I do the best I can.” Each must decide if this is true for themselves. For me, looking into my own heart I know it is not. Despite my ramblings of passion I am restrained by this body but, I will not, I refuse to, and completely reject these statements as an excuse for my self. I will look upon the face of my love or I am nothing and existence has counted for nothing.
“The valiant never taste of death but once. Cowards die many times before their deaths; Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, It seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.” – Shakespeare
“Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again” Homer? Troy?
Is it not true that every thing we do does matter. Whether it be for our selves or for others. Whether it is conscience and of the mind or of ignorance. If life is valued at all, then our actions, way of life, and who we are, is of the same importance that we regard or disregard life.
“No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.” Plato
At a glance, an assumption can be made that Socrates proved himself wrong as he was found guilty and sentenced to death. That evil did befall him as it often does to us all. I however argue that he only proved himself correct. No evil did touch him. Nor does it now.
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy” Luke (acts)
“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew (Jesus)
If we are resigned to our fate and have cause there is no fear of life and its troubles or of death. It is all the same in this world or the next. There are no troubles or evil that can beset our souls, our passion, our love, our goodness. All is joyous when we have martyred our selves to love each day. This is what it is to carry our cross.
“The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Mathew (explanation in translation—suffers violence=Biazetai=energetic or lively—from Bios=being life— so a better Greek translation “The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force unto the zealous in their zeal.” Source
It is no easy task. There must be a drive, a passion, a desire. What is living with our life? What is existence without essence? Its not a matter of hellfire and condemnation but….
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” John
So to wrap it up, the great commandment, nor any of Gods laws are here to hinder or bind our joy in life. But rather to give us a greater satisfaction and fullness of life. They are not hear just because he said so but because he wants us to be complete with the greatest blessings in this life. Why would we not give all of our heart, soul and mind to the betterment and profit of our own existence?
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew/ Moses (Deuteronomy)