Don Quixote Provides Determination
Most of the world knows me as Al Campbell. However, that is not true for everyone. The government calls me, Edward A. Campbell. My family calls me either Dad or Papa. My close friends call me, Allen. Having said that, no one calls me, Pandora.
In the past couple of years, I can identify with some of Pandora. This sounds like I have had a sex operation, which I haven't. Nonetheless, in the past couple years, a significant change has occurred within me...a radical change. In truth, it is more of a radical change than even a sex change operation would be.
I have written about Pandora before. Years ago during the golden age of Greece, men lived quiet, tranquil, and content lives. At least according to Greek mythology, this Camelot existence was due to a world without women. This golden age continued until Zeus created Pandora.
Zeus gave Pandora a box. Actually, Greek mythology calls it a jar. In Greek, the term, πίθος (pithos) means jar in English. Zeus warned not to remove the lid. Nonetheless, she did and out spilled all sorts of evil, plagues, and problems into the Camelot-like world. The whirlwinds of pain and suffering ruin the golden age of Greek mythology.
If you ask nearly anyone about the meaning of Pandora and her jar/box, they will say that this story or parable, which explains how humankind inherited the whirlwinds of disease and disorder. Pandora's willingness to take a chance caused chaos. While this essay is not about sexism in Greek mythology or in the present-day, it does demonstrates how badly we misunderstand the point of the parable about Pandora. In fact, we mislabeled the parable. It is not about the jar/box. The whirlwinds that are released by Pandora are merely the backstory and not the point.
The point of the parable about Pandora was not the issue of sexism nor was it about the release of the whirlwinds. Its point was what remains in the jar. Pandora saw the whirlwinds spew out of the jar and quickly slammed the lid on the jar leaving one thing remaining in the jar for Pandora and the rest of humankind. That one remaining item was HOPE. In spite of all the misfortunes of life, hope remains with us always.
After a long life, many pieces of my life and therefore understanding are coming together. I have danced with death twice in 2008, which began at first a slow transformative experience. However, I get it now. Interestingly, dancing with death frees one to live. While that may seem like a strange contradiction, trust me; it is not. I have written many articles about those that have done the dance. What is interesting is a common thread; they are more alive after the dance than before. Death forces one to realize that we do possess hope in spite of knowing that we are not immortal. I am more driven today than any time in my life. I know that sooner or later that I will not lead death of the dance floor of life. Therefore, it has engaged me to live every moment that I still possess. Hope is always present.
A week ago, I wrote about Don Quixote. However, many people have laughed him off as some eccentric errant knight. He often joisted with the windmills of life.
After a long life as an errant knight, Don Quixote is dying. Added to his deathbed experience, Don Quixote ultimately realizes that he has failed in his attempt to obtain his Dulcinea. Dulcinea is for me a metaphor for five things that I have fought for but failed in obtaining over many decades.
However, Don Quixote still possesses the glimmer of hope regardless of the reality of his dance with death. Enter Teddy Roosevelt. He addressed this situation in his speech about the Man in the Arena. Roosevelt spoke about fighting the good fight also. However, he recognized that we will not always win. Therefore, he concluded, "...if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
What is true for Roosevelt is true for me and should be true for all of us. We will attempt to find our various forms of our Dulcineas and will often fail. Roosevelt tells each of us to try, and, even if we fail, we are better than those who never tried.
Man, I will tell you, he is correct. Many of the five things that make up my Dulcinea might not be able to accomplish in the next couple of decades remaining for me in this world. Nonetheless, there is a feeling of exhilaration to Roosevelt's incentive about daring greatly even in the face of failure. Facing failure frees one to do things about which one could fail but also be successful. Even on my deathbed, I will still possess Pandora's hope and Roosevelt's willingness to dare greatly.
Visit the Darkest Before Dawn page to read more about this topic.
Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.
Visit the "Don Quixote" page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Man in the Arena page to read more about this topic.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.