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Heaven

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Alex_G, May 3, 2014.

  1. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    In Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, Catherine is speaking to her childhood nurse, Nelly. Catherine tells Nelly that if she were in heaven she would be miserable.

    “I dreamt once that I was there……heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out, into the middle of the heath on top of Wuthering Heights, where I woke up sobbing for joy.”


    This of course flips the conventional notion of heaven that was and is believed on its head. A wonderful reversal of the traditional dogma.

    That rather than being a paradise where not having a spot there would make you weep, heaven is a foreign, alien place, not somewhere where you could be happy. Weeping for joy because you have been sent back to the natural world, the world of elements and feelings, your home.

    I was interested to see what people make of this powerful and moving quote, and how it relates to or perhaps changes your perspective on what a heaven could possibly look like, if 'heavenly' at all?
     
    #1 Alex_G, May 3, 2014
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
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  2. Amechania

    Amechania Daimona of the Helpless

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    It's really more an illustration of her feelings regarding her situation with Heathcliff and Linton than any theological declaration.
     
  3. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    It seems to me that people that criticize the idea of heaven (not just in terms of its actual existence, but in terms of whether they'd like to be there or not), almost always focus on some highly specific (and in my opinion, rather odd) type of heaven.
     
  4. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I suppose Catherine's sentiments would make sense in a way if heaven is thought of as a place where one puts behind or loses all that one held close and dear while on the earth.
     
  5. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    Yeah i understand that, i was just using it as a way of asking a broader question about heaven and the things people value rather than claiming that Catherine was asking such a question. Because what notion of heaven is truly seperable to that persons feelings and experiences here on Earth
     
  6. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    What of people who are criticizing (or simply pondering) their own idea of heaven (highly specific and odd or otherwise)? To be frank in my experience most notions of heaven full stop could be described as often weirdly specific and odd.

    (For the record, I dont mean to criticize any and all notions of heaven, if that is what it appears, just to engage in thought about it, as it is something that tends to permeate the thoughts of many people, not only the overtly religious but many non-religious people too).
     
  7. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    Yeah i think so. Its interesting (to me at least) that an idea of heaven is in essence quite abstract, and removed from the reality of mortal life by definition, is in essence as alien a place as could be defined perhaps.

    And in that foreign place you project all those feelings of warmth, security, peace, love and joy that are the very things that make your home here on Earth, your living life so special. To project an echo of the real experience of those things in the here and now into the distance, and define it as heavenly.

    - a faded photocopy of the joys in life sitting in the corner of your mind with a label that reads heaven.
     
    #7 Alex_G, May 3, 2014
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  8. Amechania

    Amechania Daimona of the Helpless

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    I don't suppose there is anyway to separate our dreams of heaven from our Earthly experiences.
     
  9. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    People can criticize whatever they want but what it usually looks like to me is that they built a little box and then said they don't want to live there.
     
  10. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    As opposed to building a little box and saying they do want to live there u mean...?
     
  11. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    As opposed to building a universe.
     
  12. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    Perhaps not, but for Catherine her feelings here on Earth made the idea of heaven away someplace a miserable existence, where as other people project those feelings and things of value onto heaven, giving it its paradise like nature. I wonder what a persons definition or notion of heaven says about their life circumstances. I also wonder if notions of heaven can cause to distract one from the joys of life in the here and now, by being convinced you will go to paradise after death, you could miss out on life in the meantime.
     
  13. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    Is that what heaven is to you? as grand as a universe? or is that heaven in the minds of all different people being as diverse and scoped as the universe itself? Or do you mean heaven(and hell i guess) is all part of our universe and our living existence already?
     
  14. Amechania

    Amechania Daimona of the Helpless

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    I imagine someone who has suffered much in this life might have a very different view of paradise from someone who hasn't, and further still from someone who has caused much suffering. Traditional concepts of Heaven seem to be catch-alls, with things like a shining ethereal city or a verdant garden contrasted by places of weeping and remorse like purgatory. Back when these things mattered to people, the world was a savage place for almost everyone, with death and suffering a regular occurence. For some the world is still such a place. I wish for them a paradise of eternal joy, but I do not believe human nature is compatible with such a place. Humans must strive, struggle, suffer, and work for paradise.
     
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  15. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    I have no beliefs of heavens.

    All of the above, I suppose. I'm just saying that when people describe specific types of heavens, for the most part it just suggests to me roughly where their limits of imagination are or what sort of religious/cultural worldview they're working with, rather than much anything else.

    Like Catherine's heaven, according to the quote, apparently has mean angels in it. Why? I dunno. But I don't blame her for not liking her own dream/description; I wouldn't want to hang out with mean people either.
     
  16. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    Yeah i agree. Its profoundly sad that so many have and still do live a hell on Earth that if this universe was fair deserves them a heaven. In the reassurance a concept of heaven must have given people who needed it, it probably shone like a beacon in the darkness.

    i find it amazing how theology can have such power in the minds of people, for good or bad. Many people will live their lives in accordance to prospects of heaven, with true conviction that they will be there, as abstract and removed from reality a place like heaven is. Emotions and their associations are powerful things.

    Ideas of heaven to me have always seemed like a faded family photograph thats forever in my future.
     
  17. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    Right, well i wouldnt argue with any of that. I guess i thought you were describing critics/people who paused for thought on the subject of heaven as being 'in a box' in a way more so than those who just subscribe to a notion of heaven, as limited by their imagination and cultural stimulation as you say.

    You know i think what i like about the quote is the way her profound and powerful feelings here on Earth were so close to her heart that any notion of not being right there with them in this moment, even in a place like heaven (the pinnicle of paradise) just seemed wrong.

    Theres some raw honestly there, a real tangible experience of hers that cuts through traditons and dogma like a knife through butter. As if what drives ideas of heaven is rooted in fear and insecurity, and that she was so confident and knowing and truly invested in her feelings of love and anguish that an idea like heaven just fell away. And isnt that what it is to live....
     
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  18. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    In the book, does the character have a pleasant life or is it rather terrible, or somewhere in between?
     
  19. Alex_G

    Alex_G Enlightner of the Senses

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    I think it could probably be described as charged, passionate, cut short and tragic.
     
  20. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    Was it cut short and tragic before she said that quote, or after? How was her life up to that point?
     
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