Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 37 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
Life Arts    H4'ed 10/29/17

Daily Inspiration — Poem within a Poem

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   3 comments, In Series: Daily Inspiration
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Josh Mitteldorf
Become a Fan
  (53 fans)

A jaded man of the world follows the Ancient Sage up the mountain path to his cave, carrying a poem that embodies (beautifully) the materialist philosophy that was already taking root in 19th Century Britain, and which has since become the default world-view of Western secular society: All that we do to build a brighter future is destined to end in the grave. Those of us fortunate enough to live into old age must look forward to losing our wits and our strength, moving with difficulty, living in chronic pain. Therefore, the best we can do is to put our wretched future from our minds and seek pleasures in the present.

The Sage reads the poem aloud, and comments as he goes. He perceives that the crux of the man's despair is his belief in the finality of death. He offers a glimpse of escape from narrow fatalism: Science tells us nothing about the provenance of our core awareness or the relationship between body and soul. In the absence of material evidence, it is healthy to adopt a positive, hopeful disposition.

The Sage intuits the temperament of his interlocutor sufficiently to shy away from any mystical or spiritual declaration. But as the poem sinks deeper into nihilism, he offers an epiphany from his childhood which parallels an experience that Tennyson elsewhere describes in plain prose:

A kind of waking trance I have frequently had quite up from boyhood when I have been all alone. This has generally come upon me through repeating my own name to myself silently, till all at once, as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this is not a confused state but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, the weirdest of the weirdest. Utterly beyond words, where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction but the only true life.
-- Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Read The Ancient Sage, by Alfred Lord Tennyson,

or listen to a reading of the poem,

or listen while reading.

Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936)
Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936)
(Image by
  Details   DMCA

Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936)

Archive of the Daily Inspiration

Well Said 2   Must Read 1   Interesting 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Josh Mitteldorf Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Josh Mitteldorf, de-platformed senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at Read how to stay young at
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there (more...)

Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Twitter Bans The Donald

Cold Fusion: Tangible Hope in an Age of Despair

Artificial Earthquakes

New Scientific Study: Smoking Gun Evidence of 9/11 Explosives in WTC Dust

PayPal cuts off Bradley Manning Legal Defense; Backs Off under Grass Roots Pressure

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend