In my reading recently I came across a new word. For those of you who like new words, here’s one: belum.
It is an Indonesian word meaning not yet. If someone asks you if you have done something yet, just don’t say no. Say belum.
No has a finality to it which ties in with our sojourn on this planet traversing the cosmos. However, we need to expand our finiteness and be opened to greater possibilities which lie beyond our limited comprehension.
What lies over the horizon of our journey will provide opportunities of exploration and appreciation of the richness of life on this earth. What lies beyond the confines of this earth is still wrapped in mysteries which we are incapable of understanding or exploring.
At the end of the film Gladiator as Juba buries Maximus’ parental/religious figures in the soil, he utters the words, “Now we are free, I will see you again. But not yet. Not yet.” He had a hope in the life to come which he acquired from Maximus.
The film shows Maximus reuniting with his murdered wife and son in the Elysian Fields. According to Homer the Elysian Fields were located on the western edge of the earth near Oceanus, the world’s ocean. Elysian is where all warriors and heroes went after death.
A later Greek poet, Hesiod, would call Elysian Fields Fortunate Isles or Isles of the Blessed. In many ways they represent the ancient view of the lost Eden where chosen mortals would enjoy the good life of paradise. The concept of a lost Eden is embedded in many cultures.
The Romans adapted this afterlife belief from the Greeks. For the Greeks this belief in the afterlife evolved into a more elaborate system.
Usually this is how it happens with religion. As the religion ages more complicated tenets and doctrines (systematic theology) are added until the evolved religion has no resemblance to its pristine origins. As history has shown, religion evolves over time.
Perhaps the cosmic Elysian Fields are found in the cosmic ocean where songs and music are played and replayed with the heartbeat of rhythmic precision. Until then may you never embrace the finality of no on your journey to the shores of eternity.
G. D. Williams © 2011
Greco-Roman Religious Beliefs
David Arkenstone: Oceanus From Myths and Legends