This afternoon I took a walk around Lake Pergusa (Sicily), the mythical place where Hades abducted Kore. I had a look at the hills surrounding the lake and recollected a book on pedagogy I had read long ago. It said: “Human beings have only made technological advances, but the human heart has made no progress.”
Looking at the hills at sunset and imagining the nymphs and Kore gathering flowers along the lush shores of the lake, I tried to figure out those who lived in these same hills millennia ago. They used stone tools, while we use appliances. They lived in caves, while we live in comfortable apartments with electricity and running water. But were their hearts different from ours? What did the Stone Age people think when they watched the sun go down? Did they have a sense of family and love for their children? Did they have the idea of God?
If we consider the pre-Socratic philosophers and the poets that lived thousands years ago, like Sappho, Homer, and many others, we will see that they are still relevant. The reason is just one: The human heart and soul have made no progress, nor can they!
While we were climbing the stairway to my tomb, an owl with a mouse in its claws fluttered its wings towards a cypress tree. Life was suddenly over for the little rodent. That is life! It is based upon violence. Without killing, carnivores cannot survive. The fish in the sea must eat the small ones so as not to depopulate the oceans. The eagles in the sky must bring some small animals to their nests. Otherwise, their species becomes extinct. There is a fragile balance in nature. The life of one being passes through the death of another. Once, a Jehovah’s Witness said to me that there will come a time on Earth when lions will live peacefully together with lambs; there will be no death, diseases, and violence. When will this time come? Surely not in a world like that in which we are living now. It would be another Earth.
What about human violence? There was a great philosopher named Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel who considered war unavoidable. Was he right? I can just say that wars have never ceased since the world started. Man kills just like animals. There is not much difference between animals’ violence and man’s violence. Both of them kill not only to survive, but also to protect their territories, because of hate, jealousy, and even just for the sake of killing.
At the end of the stairway, we turned left and arrived at my tomb.
This is an excerpt from November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily
November 2 is a special day in Sicily. The Day of the Dead is considered an important festival, when children receive gifts from the dead and eat special bone-shaped cakes. Cemeteries are overcrowded with people walking in the avenues, placing flowers at gravesites, and lighting candles in their tombs. Many Sicilian tombs look like small houses: They contain a room, an altar, and marble-walled niches.
Mario Chiaramonte goes to the cemetery on this day. Besides visiting the tombs of his relatives and friends, he strolls throughout the graveyard. On his walk, he stumbles on some special tombs. A few have an epitaph carved on the tombstone or above the altar.
The tombs he visits house the bodies of a Mafia boss, a literary man, a poet, a nobleman, and more. Mario recalls the salient moments of their lives, and at the same time sees himself from a different detached perspective.
Romance, adventure, life, death, the Mafia, good and evil, racism, and impermanence are themes throughout the novel. November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily is thought provoking and captivating from beginning to end.
It was the fifth time that I had come in touch with death. My grandfather, Biagio, Pietrino, Vincenzo, and my grandmother had all passed away. What had happened to them? Had they disappeared into thin air forever, or were they still alive in another dimension? What will become of me once I am dead?
The terror of my annihilation grips me day and night. What if there is no life after death? What to do? At the mere thought that I will simply be sleeping forever, I fall into desperation. Is it just delusion to believe in life after death? Does the immaterial world exist? I mused upon my fear of death, and finally decided that I had to do something to better understand the topic. In my opinion, human beings put aside the issue of death and life after death, even though it may be the most important subject to learn more about.
Time flies very fast, and sooner or later we will die. We have to leave our possessions to our heirs. We have to part from the people we love, and we have to quit our identity, our name, and our role in society.
I had no other means to do this kind of research except by using my mind and reasoning, and collecting information from learned people and books. I wanted to know whether or not there is some kind of immaterial entity or energy inside our body. Where does the inner energy go when it leaves the body?
This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books: – A Hidden Sicilian History – The Vibrations of Words -Travels of the Mind http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo