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Conclusion: The World We Want

Thank you for participating in the Dialogue on Foreign Policy. The interactive web site is now closed. The Minister's report will appear on this web site once it is released.

This Forum is bilingual, and participants post messages in their language of choice.

So, you want to know the meaning of life? // An enlightened metaphor for our Canada.

Contributor: Barretm82

Date: 2003-04-17 23:06:22


So, you want to know the meaning of life?
An Enlightened metaphor for our Canada.

---I have always thought of enlightenment as a process, yes you can define it via a dictionary, but that was never good enough for me as I could never get the point across with a simple definition. So here we go…


This is a story that I heard that answers that question for me.

"Are there any questions?" a question a speaker will ask at the end of a lecture or presentation. It is stated simply to be polite. After is said papers start to be rustled and things packed up.

Every once and while someone will ask a question, everyone’s eyes will role and the speaker will repeat half of what he already said. But, if no one asks a question, I will ask, what is the meaning of life?

If for nothing more than amusement but in hopes to find an answer. Every once and a while I would get a reply such as "to have more money." or "Get laid." For me, none of these really took hold.

I was studying abroad during the summer and I ended up on the island of Crete. The city that I was in was the scene of a gruesome battle during WWII when German paratroops landed in nearby farmland and the local Greeks, without much more then pitchforks defended their town.

Now, years after the war, the residents of the town were of both German and Greek decent and the battle was the source of conflict between the two groups. I was in the Center for Greek and German cooperation and learning and my history class was in this Center. My professor, after finishing college, had moved back to Crete to establish this Center in hopes to promote cooperation between the two people and was achieving success though he still had along way to go.

One day in class, at the end of a particularly long lecture, the professor ended and asked, "Are there any questions?"

After a brief moment of silence people started to pack up to go, so I asked. "Professor, what is the meaning of life?"

The usual chuckle came from the crowd and people began to turn to leave.

"Wait," said the professor. People turned and the professor turned, looked into my eyes and seeing that I was serious continued. "I will answer your question." he said as he turned to look out the window up on the hill where a big iron cross marked the grave of the German Paratroopers.

He reached in his pocket and took out a small, round mirror and reflected the sunlight onto my face.

"When I was a child during the war, I found a wrecked German motorcycle. The mirror was smashed and I tried to collect all the pieces and put them back together. After awhile I realized that I could not find all the pieces so I kept the largest of the pieces and over time ground the edges against a stone to make it round. During air raids or the frequent times of boredom, I would take out my mirror and shine light into dark places. It became a game with me. I would try to get light into the deepest, and most inaccessible of places.

After the war, I kept the mirror with me and while waiting for a meeting or an interview, I would pull out the mirror and continue my game. I realized that this could be a metaphor for my life.


I am not the light nor am I the source of the light. I am a piece of a mirror whose whole design I do not know. But my mission is to reflect the light into the place that have none. This is the meaning of my life."


---You see, Canada is also a small piece of a big broken world mirror that can shine light where there is none.

This is how I see the metaphor of my life and potentially our country.


Peace.
Steve C....
Winnipeg
[email protected]

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So, you want to know the meaning of life? // An enlightened metaphor for our Canada.

Contributor: fatmomma

Date: 2003-04-18 10:56:22


Never thought I would say it but "great posting Barrett. Like this story very much. Your professor sounds like a very smart man.
We played a similar game as kids ; shining mirrors into others eyes trying to temporarily blind them.

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So, you want to know the meaning of life? // An enlightened metaphor for our Canada.

Contributor: cfallon

Date: 2003-04-21 13:11:04


The CBC still plays that game! :)

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So, you want to know the meaning of life? // An enlightened metaphor for our Canada.

Contributor: Barretm82

Date: 2003-04-21 14:18:40


..."Never thought I would say it but "great posting Barrett. Like this story very much."...

That was very kind of you,
Thank-you;


..."Your professor sounds like a very smart man. "...

Well to fully appreciate were each of us comes from and to promote better understanding, I was considering creating a thread were we could post some of our back public back ground. Do you think that would be worth while exercise? Do you think it would shed light on our foreign policy opinions?

[Yes, go ahead if you like. Some of this information was supplied in your original registrations, however some chose not to give information. We have not yet had time to add a feature to permit you to change or add to your participant profiles, so if this is of interest to some, it certainly does help tell where we are all coming from. - The moderator team ]

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So, you want to know the meaning of life? // An enlightened metaphor for our Canada.

Contributor: Jibongo

Date: 2003-04-21 16:25:35


Delightful metaphor, Steve! Metaphors, of course, can lead us astray (or blind us) as well as enlighten us. Let me explore my own heart & mind. My mind tells me I'm an autonomous individual, disconnected from the world around me. My heart tells me (whenever I manage to get to its core [COR is Latin for 'heart']) that I am connected with all of life. It's the mirror that picks up the little flashes of the truth that I treasure (like your metaphor). But I have to be careful what I do with them. I need to see how they fit in with previous flashes. I need to put them to the test. I need confirmation from as many others as possible. Do they lead us (me & all my earthmates) into closer harmony?
Let's share bits of our light with each other for MUTUAL critiquing. I would find this more valuable that going deep into our backgrounds. Our backgrounds may be facinating but they are fixed; our hopes are (or should be) flexible so we can find fruitul fits & refine them for evermore harmonious fits. How? By respectful, peaceful social interaction [as I hope our Foreign Policy will do with other nations]!

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