Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pilgrim's Nirvana, aka Elysium

I have started reading True Fans by Dan Austin. The subtitle is "A Basketball Odyssey". I have no particular interest in basketball, but this book is a chronicle of a 4500 mile, three month bike trip, and that I do find interesting. I just read a paragraph that strongly put me in mind of Elysium, aka Hwy 15. Here is the quote:

Pilgrim's Nirvana happens like that. It comes unexpectedly: in a flash, in an instant, the pilgrim is lost to the road. What does it mean to be lost to the road? It means the world has no hold upon you. No physical hold, because you are everywhere and nowhere; no spiritual hold, because your identity is no longer bound by comparison; rather, it crystalizes into a perfect, incomparable Truth.
You are free. You are in the zone.
Motivated by the above, I queued up Gladiator (one of the dozen or so DVD's we actually own) and wrote down the words of Russell Crowe's "Elysium" speech. I actually remembered it pretty well for my post during the Tour de Fred, but here's the whole thing. The context is that Crowe is addressing his cavalry just before a battle. This scene is within the first five minutes of the movie. Although pretty gory, the battle is a great bit of film, with a phenomenal sound track... ah, but I digress:

If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun in your face, do not be troubled, for you are in Elysium and are already dead. But what you do in life echoes in eternity.

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