Why you don’t.
There is no destination.
Silver moonlight dapples the furtive wood elves —
All indistinct, glimpsed, perhaps only imagined,
Just as vague recollections flash by in the mind,
While it searches in vain for anything tangible.
In the moonlight that is recollecting,
The mind touches a weathered door that creeks open,
Revealing dimly the dusty furnishings of a bygone age.
Mere sight or sound or smell stirs vague memories,
Hinting at experiences hiding in the past.
But one wanders in the moon’s faint light,
As in the past, without clear sight,
So leave the moonlight to the owls and the ravens, you say,
And the past to itself, alone and forgotten,
For this bright new day.
A change in mindset. You are sitting in a subway car and across from you, also sitting, is a motley string of people facing you — the old, the young, the astute, the lost, the excited, the indifferent, etc. But see each person first and foremost as an individual and then, way down the list, if at all, as a member of a particular race.
People miss the main point and genius of Homer’s epic tale. They get distracted by the amazing predicaments — a Cyclops, Sirens, etc. — Ulysses (Odysseus) faces on his dauntless journey homeward, which predicaments are no doubt very dramatic and therefore entertaining, but they are not the main point of the story.
The deeper meaning of this marvelous tale is that it is a perfect metaphor for what one goes through in dealing with life’s many challenges. You find yourself in some kind of predicament and then have to figure out a solution. If you don’t, life runs you over, but if you do, you continue on your merry way — until the next inevitable challenge.
The dramatic challenges Ulysses faced were only different in scale, but not in kind, to those of ordinary life. Yet the end result is the same in both cases: figure out the predicaments and you survive, even thrive; don’t figure them out and you are overwhelmed. That’s the real takeaway from The Odyssey.
An interesting note: most scholars are of the opinion that Homer was blind.
That life is so ephemeral makes it meaningless. That life is so ephemeral makes it meaningful. Which?