One Day I’ll Fly Away
True Originals are rare. Original thought and pioneering acts of great daring are attempted by only a few brave souls on this earth. The courage to be different requires a stalwart steadiness that few of us possess.
Pioneering computer scientist and mathematician, Alan Turning’s seminal work shorted the war against the Nazis, saving countless lives. He was prosecuted for homosexual acts in 1952 and chose chemical castration as an alternative to prison. Sixteen days before his 42nd birthday he died of cyanide poisoning and was posthumously “pardoned” by Queen Elizabeth 11 in 2013.
As a young prodigy at boarding school, Alan was savagely bullied and tormented for his differentness. His rescuer is an older boy, Christopher Morcom, who says these words which carry him through the rest of his short life: “Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”
Later in life, Alan Turning says, “Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes… hollow.” His differentness and courage is compellingly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2014 movie, The Imitation Game.
The courage to be different is risky. Like shooting stars, burgeoning lives are extinguished as they soar too high to be seen or fully understood. Joan of Arc was nineteen years old when she was burnt alive. Vincent van Gogh was 37. Steve Biko was 30. They dared to be different.
For some Ugly Ducklings, for some Mistaken Zygotes, the courage to be different requires leaving the known and taking the risky and often life-threatening journey to find our swans. We are Outsiders. Sometimes persecuted, scapegoated for our differentness. Sometimes we are lucky enough to find a swan who loves us because we are different.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “from the time they are babies they are taken captive, domesticated, told that they’re not right, they’re wrong headed and improper.
They were trained to remain contained. To never really spread their wings, and especially never to find those who are like themselves. That was considered very, very dangerous.”
Bravery is weighted with risk. We may jettison our most cherished relationships, our livelihood or our lives along the way. Despite the anachronisms and soap suds, the TV series Masters of Sex depicts the pioneering research by William Masters and Virginia Johnson into human sexual response and sexual dysfunction in a time of hypocrisy and bigotry. They dared to explore taboos and expose fear and ignorance during the counter revolution of the 1960s. They were the lucky ones. They risked and succeeded with a roll of the dice in times when it was dangerous to be different.
“We talk about being emotionally healthy and often overlook the spiritual emotions.” In Thomas Moore’s latest book, A Religion of One’s Own, he suggests A courageous approach to caring for the soul when most psychologists label a cry from the soul as ADD and silence the exquisite poetry of symptoms with drugs.
“Many people begin a spiritual project – meditation, yoga, a new religion – while they have complicated emotional problems entangled in their spiritual longings… I recommend self-therapy, exploring your fear, desire, sexuality, anger, personal past and relationships. I don’t see therapy as fixing what is broken but rather as tending to you whole psyche.”
Mark Haddon explores mystery and exquisite beauty of differentness in his profoundly moving book, now also an award-winning London play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night Time. Soul lies entwined in the entangled threads of human relationships and most certainly in the supreme sensitivity of the young narrator, Christopher John Francis Boone, who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties.”
We’re probing the mysterious frozen mountains of Pluto and her five shadowy moons. Perhaps this is a metaphor for a Collective transformation. A brave exploration of calcified structures, fundamentalist rigidity, faded injunctions in dusty tomes that no longer serve humanity and all the other sentient beings that share our blue planet. On a personal level, this could signify a time to bravely venture into the chlothic underworld of our own psyche and meet the Minotaur at the centre of the Labyrinth.
Christopher says, “And when the universe has finished exploding all the stars will slow down, like a ball that has been thrown into the air, and they will come to a halt and they will all begin to fall towards the centre of the universe again. And then there will be nothing to stop us seeing all the stars in the world because they will all be moving towards us, gradually faster and faster, and we will know that the world is going to end soon because when we look up into the sky at night there will be no darkness, just the blazing light of billions and billions of stars, all falling.”
Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.
Randy Crawford – One Day I’ll Fly Away