Wanderlino Arruda
Djalma Souto


Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Wanderlino Arruda

Flying up in the brilliant blue sky, trying hard to hold his wings in tight on a painful curve, Jonathan lifts his beak, pointing at the clouds…and flies. Flying is very important, as vital to life as living or eating, perhaps even more, at least for Jonathan, a seagull that thinks and feels the flavor of the infinite. It’s true, that it costs us dearly to think differently from the rest of the flock, passing the days flying, just learning to fly, far from common mortals; content with the way they are, languishing in the poverty of their limitations. For Jonathan, it’s quite different. To evolve is necessary. Life is the unknown and the unknowable. After all, any seagull worth his wings has to live to the shine of the stars, analyze paradise up close, breathing lighter, friendlier airs. To live is to conquer, not to limit the illimitable. There is always more to learn…Always.

Look forward. Step towards perfection, enjoy immensely whatever you do. That is the secret of Jonathan. Thinking and rationalizing differently from other seagulls poses no problem to him. Even though he is only one in a million, even though he has to trace an infinite path, Jonathan knows intuitively that there is more to life than just eating, holding some important position, being loved or criticized. To live is to fight. Once, one hundred times, one thousand lives or even ten thousand! Until attaining perfection, the irresistible victory of eternal learning, where numbers have no power to limit. No one is excused from the evolution of learning, and the eventual truth that nothing beyond “will” and “life” have sincere significance.

Time passes, places pass and his fellows pass, or pass not…while Jonathan strives ahead, flies, learns, trains, soars above the commonness of ordinary existence. Destiny is infinite; the direction is ascendant, toward the heights! It is completely spontaneous and natural, because whoever shines out internally, triumphs in his mission of light. A destiny, which holds to oneself as well as to all other creatures. One great marvel of love is its wondrous contagiousness. Whatever holds for Jonathan will hold for all seagulls. Sentiment is the sanctuary, and its peace reflects and flows forth incessantly. The faith witnessed in evolutional effort is the blessing of the gifts of love. It cleanses and edifies, and bettering itself, it also betters they that perceive its ways and rhyme.

Interesting, even to a seagull! The more Jonathan trained himself in his exercises of goodness, the more he worked to understand the nature of love, and desired to return to the earth, to be among his fellows once again, among his own, those who cannot see beyond the tips of their very wings. What good would it do to show them his paradise? One after the other, all, one day, will learn to fly. All will fly because flying is very good. Francisco Coutinho Seagull and Martinho Seagull, old today, young tomorrow…it doesn’t matter. What matters, is to walk toward the infinite, illuminating oneself with the light that illuminates light itself.

An excellent experience is the reading of the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”. A reading of words and a reading of images, for I have never before encountered as illustrative a text as this. As I read and flew with Jonathan, while I felt the cold of the heights and the transparency of the infinity of spaces, I remembered why the Chinese always put tiny images of men in their paintings, especially their panoramas. It is necessary for us to limit one’s worth before nature, make one see one’s smallness upon the background of life. Climb a mountain…or fly. Cleanse the human shell of the multitude of petty ambitions, futile and unnecessary. Making oneself so small, one becomes great. Great, great within the greatness of humility.

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