Learning to Forgive Others

by on February 14th, 2011
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In Chapter 9 of his Viking release “Super Life Secret Codes,” author Great Sun extolled the value of eliminating unnecessary anger or sadness by changing one’s perspective and then minimizing the problem. He lamented the fact that some people lack this skill. Once they get mad, they can’t stop being angry until they have enacted complete vengeance on the object of their rage. They feel that in order to put the incident out of their mind, they need to entirely uproot the source of the conflict, clear the field, as it were, and then they will be able to forget about it.

We can find a more intelligent model for expressing anger in the closing scenes of the Tempest, by William Shakespear. Propero, the former Duke of Milan was disposed by the treachery of his brother Sebastian and King Alonso of Naples. He and his daughter were then cast upon the sea, sustained only by food and supplies given to them by the Duke’s loyal adviser Gonzalo. Using his magic arts, Prospero manages to reach an enchanted Island where he establishes his new residence. He frees a spirit Ariel from the enchantment of a wicked witch Sycorax, and enslaves Caliban the witch’s son, who is prevented by Prospero from seducing his daughter.

At a propitious moment, Prospero uses his magical arts to create a storm which shipwrecks King Alonzo, Sebastian, Sebastian’s son and Gonzalo on the enchanted Island. With the help of Ariel and his magical powers, King Prospero now enacts a series of magical events that turn the tables on those who were responsible for his exile. King Alonso and his son are separated during the shipwreck and both experience the grief of loss. Sebastian and another seaman plot to take the like of Alonzo, who thereby experiences the bitterness of treachery. Caliban and two drunken seaman plot to take Propero’s life and all three are caught and imprisoned through Ariel’s magic arts.

At the very moment when Prospero has succeeded in paying back those who did him wrong, he is reminded by Ariel of the now pitiful state of the former conspirators.

“If you now beheld them, “speaks Ariel,” your affections would become tender.”

“And mine shall,” responds Prospero. …Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick, Yet with my nobler reason ‘gainst my fury do I take part.”

So having wreaked his vengeance, Prospero stops short of total decimation, and frees all the perpetrators, exacting promises that they will not again turn to their wicked ways. Prospero is restored to his dukedom, his daughter is betrothed to Alonso’s son, and repentant Caliban is set free. True to his name, and thanks to his strategy, Prospero prospers.

Not so, another of Shakespeare’s characters Othello. That poor King became so obsesses with jealously about the alleged infidelity of his wife that he was persuade by an evil courtier to kill her. After completing the deed, the wretched King learns that she was innocent.

The wisdom in holding back from total destructive rage against one who has perpetrated evil against us is that it maintains our focus on that which is most important, the positive goals in our life. When we put our greatest focus on the ongoing positive projects in our lives, and treat treacheries and evil deeds as mere temporary osticles to be overcome along the way, then we immediately see the foolishness of investing too much energy in righting those wrongs. If a partial revenge against a wrong doer will dissuade him from taking the same action in the future, then the wisest course is to stop short, and put our attention on worthier endeavors.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ The_Tempest#Synopsis


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