I intentionally chose a shorter work for my most recent book, as I hoped its brevity might help kickstart my pace and revive my flagging hopes of succeeding in the challenge. Kahlil Gibran‘s The Madman certainly accomplished that. The book is roughly 75 pages long, but has so much simple beauty and wisdom crammed into those pages that it feels as if I have finished a philosophical tome of epic length. Narrated by the titular madman, this book is a collection of parables and poems that remind me of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra or Hesse’s Steppenwolf.
This book is short by necessity. Any longer would be too much. As it is, I could not put down the book as soon as I began reading. If you are in a ponderous mood and want a book that inspires reflection, The Madman is an excellent choice. This is the second work by Gibran that I have ever read (the other being The Prophet earlier this year), and I am hooked. I recently purchased a single volume that has ten of his books in it, and look forward to reading them all. I will leave you with one of the short selections from The Madman.
In the ancient days, when the first quiver of speech came to my lips, I ascended the holy mountain and spoke unto God, saying, “Master, I am thy slave. Thy hidden will is my law and I shall obey thee for ever more.”
But God made no answer, and like a mighty tempest passed away.
And after a thousand years I ascended the holy mountain and again spoke unto God, saying, “Creator, I am thy creation. Out of clay hast thou fashioned me and to thee I owe mine all.”
And God made no answer, but like a thousand swift wings passed away.
And after a thousand years I climbed the holy mountain and spoke unto God again, saying, “Father, I am thy son. In pity and love thou hast given me birth, and through love and worship I shall inherit thy kingdom.”
And God made no answer, and like the mist that veils the distant hills he passed away.
And after a thousand years I climbed the sacred mountain and again spoke unto God, saying, “My God, my aim and my fulfillment; I am thy yesterday and thou are my tomorrow. I am thy root in the earth and thou art my flower in the sky, and together we grow before the face of the sun.”
Then God leaned over me, and in my ears whispered words of sweetness, and even as the sea that enfoldeth a brook that runneth down to her, he enfolded me.
And when I descended to the valleys and the plains God was there also.
The Current Count:
54 Read, 46 To Go