Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Labor Day 2011

A review of “Razor’s Edge”

We were in a small field and a small stream was trickling by. We created an ember with a bow and drill, and then put the ember into a wad of mugwort. We blew it into a flame, and then created our small fire between two rocks. We balanced a #10 can over the rocks, and heated water. Soon, we added coffee grounds to the water, and then strained our coffee through a clean sock into each of our cups. The hobo coffee was delicious and then we began to warm our stew made from beans and wild greens.

It was Labor Day in Highland Park, and we gathered for the annual WTI event [www.wtinc.info] to discuss the meanings of “real labor,” and to consider why we do what we do all life long, and whether or not there are better alternatives. Our focus was upon those peripatetics throughout history who could not go along with their society’s norm, who knew there was a better way, and who worked to share this insight with their fellow man.

Such peripatetics could have included Jesus, Socrates, Ghandi, Pythagoras, and many others.

As we enjoyed our coffee and beans, we moved to a nearby makeshift shelter where an outdoor TV had been set up. We sat in the shade as we viewed and discussed the original version of “Razor’s Edge.”

The story begins in 1919, post World War I, where the author Somerset Maugm, describes one of the most unusual individuals he’d ever encountered. The main character, Larry, survived the last battles of WWI, but his fellow soldier, right next to him, was shot dead. That caused an indelible mark in Larry, and it led him on his search for the meaning of life, his life, life in general. It meant Larry found himself unable to settle down, and wandered to Paris, and to a monastery in India. Meanwhile, we see what happens to Larry’s childhood friends as they pursue their ordinary life, the very life they wanted for Larry.

I first viewed this movie when it was on TV in the middle of the night, a restless night when I could not sleep and I was asking the very questions that Larry asked himself. What is this all about? Why do I do what I do? What should I do? Why is everyone so unhappy with me if I do not do as they want?

The original black and white version of “Razor’s Edge” remains an inspiring classic, and I strongly recommend that you view it, and put yourself in Larry’s shoes.
Did Larry ever find his answers? He said he found some of his answers, though not all, and that he might never find all his answers. But while in India, while alone outdoors as the rising sun made its appearance, he experienced what some would call a Oneness with The All, and felt that he were a part of God. It was an experience that he could barely describe in words, and one which he thought back to often.

That was what I did on Labor Day.

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