Hamlet – modern adaptation

[Jack knocks on the door].

JOHN: Who is it?

JACK: The question is, my friend: is it better to be alive or dead?

JOHN: Is it nobler to suffer what luck throws at you, or to fight against all those troubles and end them?

JACK: To die is to sleep – a sleep that ends all the heartache and shocks that life gives us.

JOHN: That’s an achievement I wish for. To die, to sleep – to sleep … maybe to dream. Ah! But there’s the catch! In death’s sleep who knows what kind of dreams might come, when we go there. It must make us pause. This is the tragedy that stretches out our sufferings for so long!

JACK: Who would put up with all life’s countless humiliations and abuses – the unfairness and injustice – when you could simply pick up the knife and call it quits?

[A knife is slid on the ground under the cubicle door].

JACK: Who would choose to grunt and sweat through an exhausting life?

JOHN: Unless they were afraid of something after death – the undiscovered country from which no visitor returns – that gives no answers and makes us stick to the evils we know, rather than rush off to find other ones we don’t? Fear of death makes us all cowards, and our natural impulse for action is lost in thought.

[John gets up and opens the cubicle door. No one is there].

Podcast #9

the outer view

– By Bobby Walker
A Little Bit of Drama

Beneath a mountain of tedium,

In a dull ugly system,

In an empty ocean of shadows,

Is a silhouette of pure fire heat

Drifting in the dark.

All I wanted was the wind;

The wind murmured with anticipation,

The grass turned to icy grey,

A fine mist fell,

And with the mist came my sorrow

Cooling my body

With her thousand kisses,

Leaving me there.

I am surrounded by ice crystals

floating down through silence

into soft glowing snow.

The only sound is the pulse of my breathing.

As the sun sleeps,

how many hearts are dreaming,

when the world stands still.

A Different Story (Gandalf The Great)

What would have happened if Gandalf had accepted Frodo’s offer of the One Ring?

Gandalf freezes, the shadow of the ring draws his hand nearer; and as the fire skips a beat, the ring falls into Gandalf’s pocket. “I shall keep the ring safe and unused. However if there is just cause to use it, I shall become the guarantor of peace”, announces Gandalf solemnly.

As night draws in, Gandalf looks back over the hills at the tiny flickering lights of the Shire. The Wizard whispers to himself: “There is much to do. Much to do.” He notices the weight of his robes and the precious Ring within.

Gandalf wanders, ruminating intensely upon the weaknesses of Elves and Men. He reasons that Elves are incapable of comprehending the true power of the Ring, and would foolishly wish to destroy the golden future of Middle-earth. He knows that mere Men are too easily corrupted by its power. Gandalf is absolutely resolved: he must keep the Master Ring his own secret, at all costs.

Gandalf sits on the crest of Weathertop. The days pass, the rain falls but Gandalf does not notice; he is lost in matters of deepest consequence. Then out of every corner of the darkness come the cries of The Nine: “The Ring. The Ring!”. Gandalf raises his staff and proclaims: “I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor, your master, the Lord of the Ring!”. “The Ring. The Ring!”, chant The Nine. As the Ring slides onto Gandalf’s finger, the sky erupts with lightning. “I am the bringer of light”, exclaims Gandalf in triumph.

Gandalf of Many Colours imprisons Saruman the Traitor and unifies Elves and Men against Sauron, destroying the Dark Lord and his Dark Tower of Mordor. Much rejoicing is had by all. Gandalf announces that there is much more to do – to the consternation of Aragorn, who is executed for treason; with all his followers, kinsfolk and other suspected spies of Elrond.

Gandalf later wears an imperial gown of black and proclaims himself the Lord High God of all Middle-earth. He anoints his Ringwraiths Lords of Middle-earth, as a temporary edict to ensure order while the new Great Age of Wisdom is being forged. He puts his vast prison camps of heretics and traitors to work, building a bigger more magnificent tower on the ruins of the Dark Tower, called The Great Tower of Unity – as a example of beauty and perfection to all. Gandalf sits at the top of the tower in his golden throne room and ever-watches, ensuring his subjects are forever obeying his great will.

Gandalf is regularly overcome with anger at the disloyalty and ingratitude of his subjects, which necessitates public demonstrations of his great power, much to the amusement of the Uruk-hai. Transgressors of the laws of Gandalf are sent to Mordor to learn more of The Way of Gandalf – they are not seen again.

One day, as the Lord High God of all Middle-earth is amusing himself with the antics of his Hobbit court jesters, he sips from a chalice of poisoned wine carefully prepared by his servant Grima Wormtongue; he takes his last gasp as the Ring slips from his withered finger on to the finger of his murderer. The Great Tower of Unity is renamed The Dark Tower.

But Gandalf had foreseen and refused this fate, placing his hope instead on the unnoticed deeds of Hobbits. “Will you not take the Ring?”, says Frodo. “No!” cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. “Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me!”

Dawn

Dead shadows dance in the night

yearning for the dawn. 

Cold and forgotten walking scars,

drained by decay,

wasted by time,

stretch out,

hungered and blurred,

to a spark ignited,

climbing,

rising from the ground. 

From the dark depths,

rays of hope entwine in the sky,

kissing the hills;

breathing new life

and wonders layered in light. 

Naked with joy, a new day, a new world is born.

Age-old issue

A: Angry humans of the twentieth century came to the brink of self-destruction, inflicting unbelievable suffering in the process. Hating the hatred helps it grow, even though it may change its face.

B: That’s just an empty platitude. If you don’t fight the malevolent, you are complicit by allowing it to continue.

A: You always become the result of the energy that moves you. Not for no reason has it been so often said that you become the thing you hate.

B: I have every right to hate. There should be justice! People sitting on mountain tops don’t have to deal with the realities of this world. If people didn’t fight for what is right, evil would walk over everything, including you and me.

A: You deserve not to be contaminated by this energy. You have a chance to be better, to make a better world. You can feel what is right and act intensely, but it is your anger that unbalances you.

B: Some people are evil, I have no intention of being kind to them, they deserve everything coming to them.

A: The world will only heal with kindness. If humanity can find its light there can be no darkness. You can help make that possible, right now.

B: Anything I do will not change the world.

A: Give your love and the world will be relieved. Give your anger and the world will be wounded yet again. That’s how important you are. That’s how important every single person is.

Peace of mind

1:  Can you help me?

4:  Yes of course.

1: I am consumed with feelings for someone who doesn’t have them for me. I have trouble sleeping and wake up aroused. I have no choice but to think about her and when I do I am flooded with physical desire for her. This is “in love” right?

4:  You know that sexual desire changes and what you are feeling now may fade away?

1:  Yes I know craving isn’t love, but it isn’t as simple as that.

4:  What do you think triggered it this time?

1:  I don’t know.

4:  Pain is attracted to pain because it wants more of it.

1: I’m not sure I agree with that. It’s recognition of something in another, a similar frequency or whatever you want to call it. I suppose if you see similar expression in another, empathy can create feelings of closeness.

4:  Can you express your feelings to her?

1:  It’s not possible or helpful to be open with her, she has her own life and I want her to be happy.

4:  Examine whether that is really true, or are you being fearful?

1:  No, it’s not possible, selfish even.

4:  Then this is an opportunity for you to practice love with non-attachment.

1:  Doesn’t sound very romantic.

4: Love is giving, complete, the source of everything. Love doesn’t need to crave anything. This is where peace and serenity reside.

1: Sounds like you’re saying I should not get too close to anyone or need or miss anyone. It sounds unnatural, uncaring.

4: Love is not conditional on the circumstances in this world. Let your heart break, don’t be afraid, don’t struggle, you will find that nothing is ever lost.

1:  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

4: Yes you do. Be still, radiate love, your true nature beyond the conditioning of your mind.

Something instead of nothing

1:  Why is there something instead of nothing?

3:  Given an infinite amount of opportunities anything can emerge from the chaos, including our world. 

1:  But why are there infinite somethings compelled with energy, rather than nothing?

3: There was no beginning, our universe probably burst forth from another universe and so on. It has always been so.

1:  But where did the first universe come from?

3: Not everything has an answer yet, but no doubt it will be explained with the advance of scientific knowledge. Even if the goal is not reached, there is no need to include supernatural causes in the equation. Logic requires that we deal with verifiable facts, adopting the most efficient explanation.

1: Time does not make sense. The existence of things does not make sense. Can we not postulate the existence of something beyond time and space that created everything? Can we call this God?

3: There is no need to do so. We may not know what the variable x is yet, but we should not start invoking imaginary entities.

1:  Something doesn’t feel right.

3:  There is no evidence for the existence of a God or Gods, the world is explicable in terms of scientific explanation.

1: The fact is that I have always believed in God, it’s not a considered opinion or the product of upbringing, it’s just what has been instinctive to me.

3:  Ok well a cognitive scientist may explain this as a natural propensity to religiosity, there by natural selection to give a purpose for the survival of the organism. 

1:  Is there any meaning?

3: A person may look at the nature of the universe, see the randomness of outcomes, the cruelty and enormous suffering and decide there is no benevolence at work here. They may look at evolution by natural selection and decide there is no plan here. The universe, although magnificent, does not care about us – we must make our own way and make our own meaning in the brief window of opportunity for existence.

1:  Suddenly you’re speaking with feeling, maybe your outlook is motivated through sympathy and outrage at the sufferings in the world.

3: It is logic replacing delusion. Myths and fairy stories aren’t needed anymore.

1: I admire your beliefs more than belief systems motivated out of fear or desire for self-reward. I don’t care what you believe, as long as your actions are kind.

3: My conclusions are not beliefs. Religious delusions have been the cause of so much of the worst in humanity.

1:  Religions are subject to corruption, yet the spiritual path can be found in the different traditions.

3:  A God is not necessary to be spiritual, to behave with morality and to appreciate beauty in Nature.

1: You do have a belief system. You believe the universe ultimately has no purpose and its existence can be completely explained by rules contained within itself – when in fact there is no way of knowing the ultimate causes of things. You believe the answer to the mystery of existence is that there isn’t one.

3: I am offering the most logical approach to understand the world.

1: I don’t believe that the world would exist without a purpose. I believe in the possibility of a reality beyond this reality, beyond cause and effect, time and space. In this life I see the purpose as feeling connected with the world, being present and alive, feeling love, creativity, beauty and joy. The true reality of experience may run far deeper than what our senses show us.

3:  I deal with facts and what can be observed, not imagined.

1: Reality is tenuous – it can be anything depending on what our senses show us. Whether what they are showing is objectively real is unknowable. I think you have too much faith in the material surface reality of things, a reality that in itself does not seem complete.