One’s Real Life Is Often The Life That One Does Not Lead

Oscar Wilde has noted “One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.”

As many today who state openly, some with hubris and the sin of pride, their deeply religious convictions but in reality do not practice anything that religions teach.

Below is a passage from Charles Dickens’s novel, “The Christmas Story,” and I pass it on as food for thought and self reflection.  I choose this because of the many that tout Christmas as being under attack but ignore what the reflective aspect of that Season really means:

It was a long night, if it were only a night; but Scrooge had his doubts of this, because the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. It was strange, too, that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form, the Ghost grew older, clearly older. Scrooge had observed this change, but never spoke of it, until they left a children’s Twelfth Night party, when, looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place, he noticed that its hair was grey.

‘Are spirits’ lives so short?’ asked Scrooge.

‘My life upon this globe, is very brief,’ replied the Ghost. ‘It ends tonight.’

‘Tonight!’ cried Scrooge.

‘Tonight at midnight. Hark! The time is drawing near.’

The chimes were ringing the three quarters past eleven at that moment.

‘Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,’ said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, ‘but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?’

‘It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,’ was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. ‘Look here.’

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

‘Oh, Man! look here! Look, look, down here!’ exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

‘Spirit, are they yours?’ Scrooge could say no more.

‘They are Man’s,’ said the Spirit, looking down upon them. ‘And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is IGNORANCE. This girl is WANT. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is DOOM, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!’ cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. ‘Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And abide the end!’

‘Have they no refuge or resource?’ cried Scrooge.

‘Are there no prisons?’ said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. ‘Are there no workhouses?’

The bell struck twelve.

Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost, and saw it not.  As the last stroke ceased to vibrate, he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley, and lifting up his eyes, beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like a mist along the ground, towards him.

Now let us compare and reflect of the recent rantings of Rick Santorum and those who vote and follow his example, as one cross references to the words above, it is easily noted that they have no relationship what so ever.  I will conclude that Charles Dickens spoke of the true Christian and the obligations you take on when making that claim, but I have no idea what Rick Santorum speaks of.  In truth, I don’t think he does either.


6 Responses to “One’s Real Life Is Often The Life That One Does Not Lead”

  1. Northwest Ohio Native Says:

    I’m here and reading, it’s just that this is one of those posts that takes more than one reading and time to think.

  2. Engineer of Knowledge Says:

    Hello NON,
    The Christmas Story was a form of a passion play.

    The sprit of Christmas Present that haunted the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, was hiding and then exposed to Scrooge the poor starving children that represented the poor in England at that time of the Robber Barons. One has to remember that the French Revolution was still fresh in the minds of people and knowing that it was brought about due to the uncaring plight of the down trotted. The concluding retribution was the French guillotine. (The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come)

    “This boy is IGNORANCE. This girl is WANT. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is DOOM”….. unless the writing be erased (in modern day English) unless it is corrected….Deny it! (You know it’s true) Then the sprit goes onto say, “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And abide the end!” (Change your ways or you will suffer the same as those in France)

    A young Charles Dickens started life in a Middle Class childhood. This period came to an abrupt end when the Dickens family fell into financial difficulties destroying the family.

    The lesson that Scrooge was to learn, To be compassionate, helpful, understanding and caring to those less fortunate today.

    Just as Rick Santorum and his crowd of followers are attacking and slandering those who have fallen on hard times from no fault of their own, it will be those same down trotted citizens that will once again pull out the metaphorical guillotine to rebalance society. The sprit of Christmas Present is speaking of what Christian teachings truly are, and Rick Santorum is speaking the attitudes of Scrooge’s old ways.

  3. mudrake Says:

    Excellent reflection, Engineer! Excellent. Timely not only for the days surrounding Christmas but for always.

    This boy is IGNORANCE. This girl is WANT. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is DOOM, unless the writing be erased.

    Beware this boy. Yes, beware IGNORANCE…because those in power or who wish power will lead ‘him’ wherever they want until the goal is theirs.

    Just yesterday I saw polling data for Ohio, my state. Santorum is up 80% to Romney’s 15%!

    Can you imagine that? These are the same Ohio fundamentalists who gave Bush his 2nd term back in 2004.


  4. Northwest Ohio Native Says:

    1. Thanks for the explanation of that tale. I still don’t quite understand why Dickens used children. It kind of distracts from the message, but I guess Dickens might know how to write better than me.

    2. The only reason I can think for Santorum’s sudden popularity in Ohio is that many “on-the-fence” Republicans have given up and plan to re-elect Obama. I was going to vote for Santorum in the primary because I figured it’d be a shoe-in for Obama’s re-election, but now I’m having second thoughts because some people might use any support of him as a reinforcement of his nutty ideals.

    Santorum has changed his mind on when life begins. He now thinks life begins at “erection”.

  5. Engineer of Knowledge Says:

    Hello NON,
    1. I think Dickens chose children because every parent and grandparent could identify the plight of the innocent being projected to their own children or grandchildren. Kind of like, “There but for the grace of God go I” scenario.

    2. “life begins at “erection” I LOVE IT!! Yes I was going to vote for Santorum in the primary too but what if a win in Maryland gives him validity instead of exposing his insanity. I had decided that I was going to vote for the biggest Wing Nut in the Republican Primary but I am now concerned that it will give Santorum too much validity. What if the economy really takes a downturn in the next few months and people start to think anyone is better than Obama….and Santorum is the other choice. I may have to pull up my stakes and live like a gypsy in Microdot’s back yard.

  6. J.O.B. Says:

    EOK- Judging by Dottie’s pictures of Home. You should have no problem carving out a little nook. 🙂

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