“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are all noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty,romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
To quote from Whitman: “O me, o life of the questions of these recurring, of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, o me, o life?
Answer: that you are here. That life exists, and identity.
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.
What will your verse be?”
This is one of my favorite scenes in “Dead Poets Society”. I think that the idea of a Great Conversation spanning the whole of human history beautifully illustrates how we are connected to the past, influence the future, and are inherently connected to each other.
Not to promote some hippy dippy “We are all connected” crap, but more so to realize every word, action, thought, expression, kindness and evil will resonate out and continue to influence people far beyond our sight and lifetimes. It is impossible to predict how we will affect the course of human history. Perhaps we may create something of art or writing that influences millions, perhaps we speak a kind word and in doing do promote another to do so. Maybe we will inadvertently empower the next great atrocity. There really is no way to tell how far we will reverberate through infinity. We can however, more greatly affect the future closest to us, shifting possibilities by injecting new information into the system. We can affect probability of outcomes with our thoughts, words and actions. Some call it magic, and maybe it is. I call it life. Perhaps the two are contextually synonymous here.
We are the proverbial butterflies of chaos theory dancing about in human form.
This is the real life actualization of dreams.
*Read the full text of the poem “O me! O life! here