The translation of this chapter from Russian was done by Joanna Dobson
So, the condition essential to survival in the paleontological sense of the word is the ability to synchronize goals, and this is possible only given the ability to perceive the Truth, at least partially, for example, in the matter of death. Put simply, the ability to synchronize goals can otherwise be referred to as comradeship. Usually, the idea of comradeship is rejected with hatred at the very outset. If there were to be a literary genre, however, in which the idea of comradeship is clearly not rejected at the outset, as so many are prone to these days, it would be the epic poem, the “epos”. One of the most ancient epic tales is Homer’s Iliad. A refreshing read. And yet so few read.
So the question is this: who among us will survive in the paleontological sense of the word? Those who vilify comradeship at every turn, those for whom even the word “comrade” has become an obscenity, or those who extol the virtues of comradeship and friendship, not only as a source of happiness, but as a practical means to personal growth and self-realization? Each must find the answer to this question independently.
These two different views of comradeship equate, in turn, to two different views on how to achieve self-fulfillment in life, and dare we say it, happiness. The fact is that all of us, every single one of us, represents the fruit of multiple mutations in our predecessors’ line, our predecessors as a species. Over the course of millions of years, the ancestors of each and every one of us formed a number of evolving groups. The ancestors speciated. That is, through each and every one of us is woven the memory of a group that evolved as a means of winning, while other groups around them perished in one or another natural catastrophe. The others perished, while our ancestors did the opposite and overcame.
It follows then that it is impossible to achieve the richness of self-fulfillment exclusively by means of gluttony, drinking, sleeping and sexual intercourse. Self-realization must be found within an evolving group, or at least in proximity to one. This accounts for the intense pleasure that is to be derived from reading Homer, as well as the keen interest in heroes of the Great Patriotic War who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their comrades, those such as Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and Alexander Matrosov.
In addition to the aesthetic pleasure that one gains when coming into contact with epic poems and the detailed biographies of such heroes, there is also a tangible benefit to be had. The fact is that heroes such as these are particularly fortunate individuals, something that remains evident throughout their lifetime and, as a result, they bring good fortune to anyone who would contemplate them. Indeed in the matter of good fortune both Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and Alexander Matrosov are undoubtedly our Teachers.
Did you enjoy this chapter? Read the next one. Two views on death
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To be continued …