Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oneness, Division & Hamlet

The idea of oneness is a bit odd. In the West we have interpreted this complexity as simplicity. Oneness does not mean no disagreements no paradoxes no contradictions no change. Oneness is not even some mystical state arrived at via gurus and meditation. Rather it is a way of allowing both contemplation and action. Take Hamlet, the hopelessly divided hero. When he can only contemplate he cannot act. When he acts he can no longer contemplate. Hamlet’s efforts to be his own man are undermined by the poisonous world of self-interest and intrigue that he inherits from his dead father. He is fatally flawed because he cannot end the family romance or remake the broken kingdom. He belongs to what has been not to what might be. If he could accept his own contradictions and those of everyone around him, he might gain in personal understanding as well as political power. But he can’t. Hamlet is an exercise in what happens when we believe that to be or not to be is the question. Nothing is that simple. - Jeanette Winterson

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