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Article ID: 4866
Age Group: Adult
Posted: November 11th. 2002
Three Nouns and a Verb...
"Storytellers and stories change, but the opportunity to do well or ill by others and ourselves will always be present. The right to choose how we coexist is ours unless we willingly surrender it. There can be no quick fix, no easy or permanent answer to the troubles of today or tomorrow. A sword is a sword, nothing more. Hope, compassion and wisdom born of experience are, for Middle-earth as for our world, the mightiest weapons at hand.". -- (Viggo Mortensen; Introduction to The Two Towers Visual Companion)
I have to confess. In the past year, I have become an ardent fan of Viggo Mortensen. Not because he is a babe (He is) and not because he brings to the role of Aragorn all of the subtleties that Tolkien imbued in his characterization of the future King in exile (He does) and not because he has that same sort of silky, soft voice that first attracted me to Fritz (He has). I became a fan of Viggo because he does that one thing guaranteed to make me melt: He writes well.
I am in love with words. I always have been. Give me a phrase well turned and I'll probably be your friend for life. It is why I became a writer and a storyteller myself. The ability to combine words in a way that illuminates the ordinary in a fresh light or that simply reveals to us something often overlooked in novel way is both an art and a gift.
I think perhaps that same ability to explain the complex in ordinary terms is one reason why Scott Cunningham also won our Pagan Readers poll. Scott believed that what is profound need not be complicated. It is often our very child-like awe of what is beautiful or powerful or unexpected that Scott encouraged us to embrace. A singular 'Wow!" may be the best form of praise and worship ever to reach a God's -- or a writer's -- ear. Scott and Viggo both sidle into our consciousness bearing big bags of wows. In my Little Booklet of Life, you will always get extra brownie points for a really good wow.
Viggo just earned himself some significant b.p.'s with this week's quote. "A sword is a sword, nothing more. Hope, compassion and wisdom born of experience are, for Middle-earth as for our world, the mightiest weapons at hand."
And all that he used is three nouns and a verb.
Hope: (Desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; also: expectation of fulfillment or success.) I don't know about you, but it is hope that gets me out of bed each morning. Hope is not the same thing as a wish. A wish is usually a fleeting emotional impulse or personal desire made over a flaming birthday candle or some two-pronged turkey breast part. Hope, on the other hand, is a serious and chronic condition.
Hope won't let us give in. Hope won't let us give up. Hope won't let us take the easy way out. Hope won't allow us to remain uninvolved. It is hope that forces us to keep going even as we hear the voices say, "You can't change things. You can't make a difference." Hope is the whip that drives us to keep trying even against overwhelming odds. Hope is the curse that will give us no peace if we surrender. Hope is the blessing that we hold in our hearts for a brighter future.
Hope is the vision that inspires us to look within ourselves.
Compassion: (Sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.) Compassion for others and their situation is what impels us to become involved with humanity. Compassion won't let us turn our eyes away. Compassion stirs our soul with the commonness that we all share with one another. Compassion is not passive, as it requires us to take action on behalf of another. Compassion says, "There but for the Fates stand I." Compassion extends the hand that uplifts, that comforts, that strengthens us all.
Compassion is the vision that inspires us to look outward to others.
Wisdom: (1 a: accumulated philosophic or scientific learning: KNOWLEDGE b: ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: INSIGHT c: good sense: JUDGMENT d: generally accepted belief; 2: a wise attitude or course of action.) Wisdom knows what to do. Wisdom weighs the pros and the cons but does not lapse into confusion. Wisdom sets one's course and holds it true. Wisdom is learned by the doing and earned by the lessons that come of that.
Wisdom is both personal and universal. Wisdom comes from each individual act and from the cumulative actions of those who have acted before us. Wisdom is long-suffering. Wisdom is patient. Wisdom is quiet and yet words of wisdom ring with all of the force of a lightning strike. Wisdom saves us from endless repetition and graces us with boundless possibilities. Wisdom bridges the gap between past and future.
Wisdom is the vision that unites hope with compassion and looks both within and without for answers.
And The Verb:
Experience: (To learn by experience; 2: to have experience of: UNDERGO.) Many people think of experience as a noun and it certainly can be. But to me, experience will always be a verb. You can't have the noun experience without first working with the verb.
To experience, we must get off of our butts and actually go out and do the thing. To 'have' the experience, one must endure the experiencing. To experience is not a chore. To experience is to become a part of the process. To experience is to move. To experience is to take some action. To experience is to let oneself fall into the arms of emotion, of thought, of activity and to embrace them in return. To experience is to illuminate and then to activate our inner and outer vision. To experience is to hold hope, to cultivate compassion and to attain wisdom.
To experience is to love Life fiercely, passionately and well. Scott Cunningham loved life. Viggo Mortensen** loves life. All who dare to write, who dare to do, who dare to hope and to show compassion and to seek out wisdom, love life.
But life -- like hope, like compassion, like wisdom -- is always under threat. We must fight to preserve it. We must fight to protect it. We must fight to nurture it.
We have the weapons: Hope, compassion and wisdom born of experience are...the mightiest weapons at hand."
All that we really need is three nouns and a verb.
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, November, 11th., 2002
* All definitions from: Merriam Webster's Collegiate¨ Dictionary, 10th Edition.
** You can find books and tapes of Viggo Mortensen's poems and art at Perceval Press and Viggo will reprise his role of Aragorn in the soon-to-be-released second film in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
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