I’m not sure, not really. I mean, today being the ides of March and Caesar getting shish-kabobbed and all. There was all that talk in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar about the ominous signs of impending doom — storms of fire, a lion loose and running around, guys on fire but not suffering burns, an owl appearing in broad daylight in the marketplace. Sheesh! Sounds like something was up, but was it fate? If it was, why would it matter if anyone was warned about it or not? If fate is determined, what difference does it make if anyone has signs?
I thought about this more today than I normally would have because of a conversation I had with a student yesterday about another literary work, Ethan Frome. I asked the student how she felt about fate, about life being determined by outside forces. We discussed the literary aspect of realism, that reportorial literature that represents life as realistically as possible through exploration of the human psyche more than anything else in the works.
Realism does look at life, and authors who mastered the genre wrote with great skill. However, if they examined the mass of common humanity, they were primarily occupied with Ego. I’ve enjoyed examining some literature through my lens of this Ego-Heart paradox, and it’s been informative to me. If, as Thoreau says, most people lead lives of quiet desperation, then most people being realistically portrayed by realists are portrayals of Ego. Ultimately, this means the characters, who are the main focus in realism, end up in despair, anguish, or extreme difficulties because Ego demands conformity and keeping the status quo by driving people to hide their abnormalities, convince them that any passion transcending the common person of society is sin, or by committing atrocities to self or others to cover their aberrations.
People who actually live this as their reality must believe that fate controls life. Things are the way they are, and we just accept it and conform and live tortured internal lives, because no one truly believes in fate deep down, no matter what they say. I know that because we come equipped with Heart, and Heart creates all that conflict with the conforming Ego. Heart tells us we are eternal Spirit, with all the possibilities and powers inherent in that.
In Ethan Frome, an unacceptable attraction leads to attempted suicide because the couple with the forbidden love believes things cannot change — hopelessness. Yes, that’s realism if only Ego is examined in the work. It logically leads to fate, because if we have no control over what society has come to set as normal and some superior power has already decreed what is to happen, then we just endure, in despair, desperation, and hopelessness. You know that mentality, don’t you? “It is what it is. There’s nothing we can do. What else can I do; I’ve got to have a job?” Yeah, all of that.
And that’s the way people in late 16th and early 17th century Europe believed. It’s why Shakespeare included that mindset in his plays — fate, the stars determining life course. We see this when Julius Caesar says, “What can be avoided/ Whose end is purposed by the mighty gods” (II.2) when confronted with the soothsayers warning to “beware the ides of March” (I.2) as well as his wife’s dreams of disaster. Nothing can be changed from a predetermined course. And, in fact, this is partly true — if one lives under the operating system of Ego.
And I think it’s awesome that good literature shows this. I don’t believe or live that way, though. I never cease to be shocked when young people say they believe in fate and like the way life is presented in novels of Realism. I appreciate the lit, but man, how much have kids been beat down and indoctrinated to say life is the way it is and nothing can be done about it? I grew up in the 60s and early 70s and for many of us, that was not the mindset.
Partly fueling the cultural revolution of those times was, in my opinion, people who were responding to Heart. They, as I and many others do now, understand the inherent power to create our own fate. Now, I’m not too concerned (I care and speak out) about changing society because I believe society will only change when individuals, one by one, awaken to Self, their Hearts, and become Self-aware. This prompts the power of creation of purpose, and that changes things.
In the meantime, today is the ides of March, and it means I can create my own fate just as much today as any other day. Too bad poor Julius didn’t accept that or Brutus, Cassius, or any of the rest of them. Things ended up pretty well for Mark Antony, until a later date! He was Ego-driven, too. It’s amazing how many ways Ego manifests in life — looks good, looks bad, happy, sad….
Having said all this, I am working on my piece of literature, The Fellowship of the Heart, in the evolving genre of visionary fiction, which looks at Self-awakening, at Heart-power.
Blessings on the ides of March in creating your own fate: live your personal Heart-truth!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!