In James Bond’s Skyfall, M, the head of MI6, is testifying before the oversight committee. She says,
“Today I’ve repeatedly heard how irrelevant my department has become. ‘Why do we need agents, the Double-0 section? Isn’t it all antiquated?’ Well, I suppose I see a different world than you do, and the truth is that what I see frightens me. I’m frightened because our enemies are no longer known to us. They do not exist on a map. They’re not nations, they’re individuals. And look around you. Who do you fear? Can you see a face, a uniform, a flag? No! Our world is not more transparent now, it’s more opaque! It’s in the shadows. That’s where we must do battle. So before you declare us irrelevant, ask yourselves, how safe do you feel? Just one more thing to say, my late husband was a great lover of poetry, and… I suppose some of it sunk in, despite my best intentions. And here today, I remember this, I believe, from Tennyson: “We are not now that strength, which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”.”
The last part of the statement is the final words in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s 1842 Ulysses. Ulysses, the hero of Homer epic tale, reflects on his life and the world around him.
He has grown old. The tales and stories of the Trojan War are now legends, pristine and unalterable.
From his palace windows he sees the sea which beckons him once more. For he knows that death is at his door, silently and patiently waiting to whisk him away from the life he knows so well.
He longs to sail beyond the sunset and the western stars. He lost many friends at Troy and many men on the voyage home to Penelope. He longs to find the Happy Isles where his friends may be and to join them there.
Physical strength and mental agility have flown from his body. However, Ulysses’ will is strong to “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Perhaps, as the shadows of death eclipse the joys of life, our wills may be like Ulysses. We will not yield to the enticements of death’s intoxicating perfume, but we strive until the very last moment as we cling to our final breath.
Since I began this post with a quote by M from Skyfall, let me say this. M’s words to the oversight committee may be fictional, but her words describe the world we live in today.
Like the harpies of Ancient Greece the shadows of fear and harm plague this planet traversing the cosmos. Fear is the ultimate weapon of the shadows.
Fear cannot exist in the light of truth. Light renders a shadow to its original purpose of a poor reflection of reality.
Whatever your shadows may be, may you find the courage to strive and to seek and to find. May the light of cosmic truth dispel your fears.
G. D. Williams © 2013