Michael Endes “Neverending Story” is one of the five books I would take to the island. I already shared this passion with you right here in this column.
It is a prism of colorful narrative levels, a woven story in a story in a story. It starts at an antiquarian bookstore and it ends there. In between the covers the author so brilliantly takes us to deep truths about being human and life itself.
I have read this book several times and the core concept presented there so masterfully keeps circling back.
At the core of the saga stands the fundamental danger, presented as the Nothing that keeps eating up Fantastica and the Childlike Empress.
The life threatening poison in this book is not some evil force.
It is not some tantalizing temptation.
It is not a bad whisper that waits to be resisted.
It is not some loud war scenery that comes around threatening with drums, trumpets and brute force.
No it’s none of the above.
In this book the danger at the root of our being is the life we did not live.
It is the potential in ourself that we did not see.
It is the good qualities that we did not foster.
We did not nurture them because we did not notice they were there. They could have grown and formed that beautiful bud they were ment to be.
But we were absent and did not notice their existence. We were busy thinking how bad and full of failures we were. We were telling ourselves that we did this and that wrong and said the wrong thing at the wrong time and what exactly we should have guilt and punishment for.
It sounds so wild.
The moment comes when we have nothing than the substance we built in our being. The big Nothing outside will creep up like a tidal wave when its time arises and will eat up everything. Only the cultivated good in us that we were watching, tending and watering through all the ups and downs in life, through all that difficult moments and disheartening passages will have enough energy to withstand the pull.
It’s our job to tend and care for what is beautiful and in high spirits. Not to be ugly and mean to the very being in us that is trying to do its best.
It’s not the noise that is dangerous.
It is the silence when we did not turn up the volume to hear our own song.
We have to learn to listen to that song that is inside us. At times we don’t hear anything. Or just some funky hissing and murmur. But behind that there must be this song. It’s a universal human thing to know it is there.
I don’t know if you – like me – love Michael Ende’s work or this kind of fantasy stories with a little philosophical twist.
But I know that you are wise beyond thought and you see the good that lives there.
I cheer you on to cultivate this stunning flower, no matter what life throws at you. Music will help along.
Have a great summer,
enjoy some Mojitos and olives and tap your toe to the song inside you,
much love to you,