I have always been fascinated by Gibran’s ‘source’. The chapters in The Prophet speak so universally, and have done for decades across all cultures, that one might assume his ‘Road to Damascus’ had been a detached spiritual encounter. Certainly the tone of his pronouncements, the universally loved sage, drenched in light, implied that.
Instead today, thanks to Brain Pickings and Maria Popova I find that it was the deepest personal passion, but that passion sacrificed by the object of it, ( Mary Elizabeth Haskell) for his own greater fulfillment and the eternal preservation of what they both ensured would stretch beyond them. I have always believed that love denied the narrower road, would spread above , and over all, in creative expression for love has to be expressed.
Since this site is entitled ‘Letters of Love’ it seemed imperative to share this quite literal exchange of letters. You can read the full article here:
A similar encounter for Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freemen was similarly described in a previous post on Brain Pickings. It is, for me, wonderful to encounter such confirmations of the explosive creativity of personal longing, because ‘love’ is the universal Creator, and so often diminished to ‘happiness’ or ‘fulfillment’ rather than the Souls’ search for Self.
4 thoughts on “Kahlil Gibran- Personal Love, Universal Expression.”
What a lovely post, Philippa. I have to come back and read the letters. Part of me does think that deeper beauty has at its source an element of pathos. That longing (suffering, regret, disappointment, failure) is what makes art compelling because it speaks to the human condition and thereby touches something in the observer. I love Gibran’s books.
Not sure I should recommend John’s linked article demolishing Gibran! There is enough in it to give one pause, and with the eyeglass of post fascist analysis much to disturb. It certainly acts as a corrective to the unquestioning acceptance of Gibran’s refusal to instruct, but rather to rely upon childlike innocence as the measure of purity- yet it is all too easy to fire arrows at nakedness. It is the effect of pedestals; they invite toppling!
I reaffirm what the post implied, and which you emphasize- the effect of longing in the deepening of love, which is pretty well what the whole of Involution pegged out,and which I believe is the unattainable voice of Soul- speaking ever louder when false detours attract!
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I can understand a resistance to teaching. There are understandings, I think, that can’t be explained, only experienced. 🙂 His writings, to me, are a guide, but the insight/relevance must come from the reader.
Have you read John O’Donohue, the Irish poet, he writes some about longing. It’s beautiful.
Before you posted this, being an occasional reader of Brain Pickings, I read Popova’s entry on Kahlil Gabran and his great love with Maria Elizabeth Haskell. (I don’t question that love, or any genuine love. I agree with the gist of your post here.) But turning to Gabran himself, my own mother had his books on her book shelf when I was a kid. I recall flipping through the pages, being mildly intrigued. Never really grabbed me. Something about it smells new agey to me, and that’s part of my repulsion. Curious phenomenon. That fellow for sure had mysterious romantic allure over the ladies, and I quite understand the appeal. I think of Omar Sharif. I wish I had some of that (ha ha). Maybe I should grow a mustache, carefully groom it, dye my hair black and slick it back. I’ll stand before the mirror and practice my intense look.
I do understand the art of the vague statement, which can make one seem more profound than one is. I think at times I’m guilty of it. But I’m a fool clown. No use hiding it now at my age.
Anyway, always on the lookout for contrarian views, especially where there’s unqualified praise and mesmerism going on, just to restore balance and clear the air, I came across the following article about Kahlil Gabran by Anthony Daniels entitled “The False Prophet”. He gives it to Gabran good. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this unmasking. Maybe I’m just a jealous S.O.B.
Hope you’re well! (How’s your pup Polly doing?)