And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. Gospel of John, 1:5
Maybe it’s time to demonstrate that Ned Kelly’s Pub is not only concerned with bashing liars, dissemblers and moral cowards (aka, most Western journalists and “public relations” agents.) The reason why Catherine and I fight a kind of “guerilla war” on our blog, against such vermin, is because she and I believe in the reality of Positive Good even more than we believe in the reality of Evil – because Evil’s power is limited only to negating, denying or corrupting Positive Good. (All you fellow Tolkien fans out there, take heed! The Orcs were Elves who became corrupted, and Gollum-Smeagol began his life as a Hobbit who took a wrong turn but kept his Hobbit-nature even including his love of fishing and riddles, and Saruman was a White Wizard who kept his God-given nature even beyond his willful corruption. Evil is real, but its reality is parasitical upon Positive Good.)
Catherine and I love Positive Good more than we hate its corruptions into Evil, and I’m delighted to say I’ve found a beautiful example of Positive Good, which I’d like to share with our audience.
I discovered this news – this obituary of a good and great man – through the blog of Professor Deborah Lipstadt, an American historian who has been doing a Yeoman’s job of refuting the growing “Holocaust-Denial” industry, and of exposing the recrudescence of racism and other kinds of hate-mongering in America and Europe. She writes about her pleasure in blogging about Charles Fernley Fawcett – about whom more, momentarily:
Often this blog devotes space to characters who do no good and who do much bad. It’s nice to devote space, even at this sad moment, to someone who did so much good.
I can add little to the obituary to which Professor Lipstadt linked, so please read it for yourself, here.
Shortly before he died, and evidently knowing his life was nearing the end, he inscribed by hand in a book of poetry, “With a heart full of thanks that I’ve done my best.”
What a way to end a well lived life! With simple and authentic confidence – devoid of vanity and without publicity- that you have “done your best.” As Sophocles said, “Call no man happy until he is dead”, because you can never judge the quality of a life until it is over. Tyrants and plutocratic titans like Mao and Ken Lay don’t end their lives that way – and Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney wouldn’t end their lives that way, if they died today – not with THAT rare, coolly corundumic, kind of peace of mind and heart – not the way Charles Fawcett did – even if they might have tried to convince themselves that they had lived good lives, as all men always tell themselves, as all men tend to lie to themselves. But Charles Fawcett was able to die with peace of mind and heart without lying to himself. He, and his moral courage, and his truthfulness incarnated and exercised through praxis, were very real. Because he made those qualities real, willfully, courageously, honestly, truthfully.
I am reminded of – although offhand I don’t remember the title or the author – a poem by an American, circa 1960s, and it went something like:
“Now I will show you something awful”, and then the poet describes a self-defense move of ripping someone’s eyes out, and then he asks, “And you, what horrible unspeakable deeds have YOU MADE YOUR LIFE WORTH?”
I think, the life of someone like Charles Fawcett, ought to remind us that we’re only alive for a few moments – very soon, very quickly, we return to dust, “ashes to ashes” as the Christians say on Ash Wednesday – and it’s a hard task to live the kind of life that would justify our killing or harming someone else to save our own lives.
Dear Reader, what is YOUR life really worth, to your fellow men? Have you ever risked your life for the sake of others, without regard for fame (let alone for material rewards or personal power), like Charles Fawcett did? Has the guiding polestar in your life been your love for truthfulness and integrity? But I’m not asking the question correctly, because truth and integrity mean nothing without charity, and Charles Fawcett was a man of courageous integrity AND charity!
St Paul wrote:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal….And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, but the greatest of these is charity.
I Corinthians 13:1,13
And dare I say – well I will say, especially to any professional journalists or academics among our readers –there was very little in Charles Fawcett’s life which was “fair and balanced”, and almost nothing in his life or in his deeds was “objective”.
I invite all of our readers to join me in a toast (well, you know me, a series of toasts) to the life of Charles Fernley Fawcett. But I will NOT say, “May he rest in peace”, because he ended his life in the kind of “peace which surpasses understanding” to which we, the still living, can only aspire. We are not yet “resting in peace”, but his life is, in a rare and rarified way, the only way of any kind of eternal life, the only kind of eternal life.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Life is in session! Ladies and Gentlemen, ARE YOU PRESENT?