A passage from Vitam Mysteram

The following is an excerpt from an ongoing project, my magnum opus tentatively titled, The Canon of John.  This passage comes from book II, entitled Vitam Mysteram, which is latin for “the mystery of life”.

I hope you find Truth and Wisdom in these words, to guide you on the path to your own enlightenment.


On Death and Immortality

Am I no longer human, that I have seen and now know what it is to be alive and what it is to be dead?

Perhaps immortality is something to be attained, not through spirituality or transubstantiation, or from acts of righteousness, or from bowing in servitude and grokking at the nature of imagined gods and goddesses, but instead from the very knowledge and comprehension of the thing which in and of itself does permeate and echo through the halls of eternity: mortality.

For, it is said that all things which come to wake must go to sleep; and all things that come to be alive must one day come to be dead.

Perhaps death is merely the beginning of what comes next, an opening in reality; a great passageway which we all must come to face in due time, and thus the difference between mortal men and those clever few immortals is the knowledge of life, and of death, which provokes and presses them onward through death’s door to become something else entirely.

To become something that is without reason, and without irrationality – without essence, and without body or strength – without pain or envy.  Without fear… To become more than justifications and judgements, more than tyranny and oppression, more than materialistic endeavors; more than half of a whole, to become the whole — that is the ultimate pinnacle of accomplishment.

To strive for it is to fail, but to recognize it; why, to even grasp or comprehend it! That is the truest measure of immortality.

To know is to reason, and to reason is to be human.

And yet, they say to err is to be human, and to be human is to someday cease to live, to loose the knot of conscious thought and all that is seen or known to be, and to become something more; is this not the true meaning of immortality?

How spectacular would it be if death is not an ending — nor a summation, nor a gleaning of any sort — rather, a door which stands ready to be opened.  As you draw closer to it, the door opens, by means of gravitation, subtly and yet distinctly inviting you to embark upon an unexpected turn in the journey, to experience a new dimension of being.

Tantalizing and terrifying at once; that is the precise nature of death; mortal men stand in awe of it, petrified by it, wandering aimlessly before it, searching for ways to circumvent the inevitable quietus which plagues us from nativity.

I ask you, are perception and reason not the very essence of our lives?  We feel because we have acted and thus, the system of reticular activation takes over, to then assume how we should feel, whether fearful or confident, or filled with hatred or compassion, based on the resulting consequences of the principal action.  Emotional responses to sundry physical stimuli, filtered and found to be in good standing or not by the subconscious (preconscious) mind, by the reality of our perception-based brains, by our past experiences.

So, instead of marveling at it quietly, should we not then go boldly through that doorway, by leaps and bounds of faith and fancy, as children running a race pull at each other, each fighting to be the first to cross the finish-line?  And with that same innocence, then, might we experience life (and death)!

To strive for purity by seeking truth, to strive for knowledge and understanding, never ceasing in a lifelong effort to learn, and continually teaching others what it means to be free of the bonds of mortality.

That we are limited, not by subjugation or countenance, not by means or measure, not by god or the devil, or by demons or angels, or even by death — but only by our own imagination; that whatever we see or seem, or think, or dream might become our reality.  That mortality, then, falls and follows along with the rest of things real – seen or unseen – is without question.

Is it so difficult to believe, that if one could imagine a means of soaring beside the clouds, or of walking on the ocean floor at depths which could crush a ship into a sardine can, or of exploring the center of our mother Earth, or of discovering amazing and intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, or of traveling amongst the stars — that it is impossible to achieve immortality, simply by imagining that death is not an end, but a beginning?

Think of it!  Let your mind, even for just a moment, wonder and perpetuate the vast impossibilities of the human imagination, of all the finite and infinite realms we may discover simply by closing our eyes, letting our bodies lie at rest and come to that natural state, during which our subconscious mind projects vivid and miraculous images before us, dangling us like Achilles over the precipice of creativity and then releasing, that we then plummet to our demise — only to wake, never having moved a single inch.

What magnificent power we hold!

Consider, then, that your life and your world is only as you see it.  That your world is yours alone, a prison or a playland, and that within your world, you alone wield power and dominance over your own decisions, which become your actions, which become your feelings and emotions, which becomes your truth.  As such, I may not intrude upon or share in your world unless you invite me in; even so, I am only imagining – within the boundaries or boundless limits of my imagination – what it is to see the world through your eyes.

What is color?  If I asked, “what color is the sky?” you might look upon me as a madman first, then question my eyesight second.  To ask such a simple question is to compare oneself with a child, to transport oneself backwards in time to a moment when your understanding of your world was much simpler, indeed.  And yet, was it any less true then than it is now?  Perhaps, you would respond to my question quickly by saying: it is blue.  To which, I would then reply, “and what is blue?”

And now, a pause in the conversation.  For, when one probes beneath the surface only so far as to question the essence of those simplest “facts” and “universal truths”, those “laws” of reality which appear self-evident, one finds that there is little explanation for being other than the obvious response, because it is.

And, while a painter might argue that blue is a color intermediate betwixt green and violet; a psychologist (or a pessimist) might argue that blue is a state of gloominess; a scientist might argue that blue is the frequency of the visible spectrum of light that makes up the color of the cloudless sky, azure in pigment, as perceived and translated by the rods and cones within the retina; an anthropologist might argue that blue is a perennial notation or representation of intelligent civilization to a certain point, as the pigment was not employed for use in painting or in dyeing until much later in the timeline of technological advancement of various cultures and refinements, i.e. blue came from minerals of a scarcer variety, such as lapis lazuli or azurite and therefore it was not until a certain requirement or plateau of intelligence that blue was widely employed in a culture; a historian might argue that the color blue has innumerable meanings throughout history amongst different cultures, to indicate mourning and grief, or divinity and holiness, and nearly everything in between, that the Romans (according to Marcus Vitruvius) used blue to paint the walls of villas in Pompeii, to create frescoes of beautiful boundless skies, and that the color held such gravitas among their society that they felt it necessary to devise nearly a dozen unique words to represent and explain the various shades of blue: the less common caeruleus, caesius, glaucus, cyaneus, lividus, venetus, aerius, and the most ubiquitous, blavus and azureus.

So, did any one of them adequately answer my question?

Yes!  They all did, in fact, supply answers that would suffice to acknowledge the various meanings and interpretations, representations and verisimilitudes of the color blue throughout mankind’s natural history.

Yet, not one of them could tell me what blue looks like to me; and that is my point, entirely.

– from Vitam Mysteram
written June, 2013



About John Chronikal

John Chronikal is a blogger, storyteller, poet, artist, composer, and songwriter. He loves to drink bourbon and write things that make his poor grandmother cringe. He is a gigantic man –– his bear hugs can crush bones –– but he is a gentle giant. Give him bourbon and chocolate and he will be your bestest friend forever. View all posts by John Chronikal

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