Fourteen: Evil→Live

Joaquin Rodrigo–Concierto de Aranjuez, 2nd Movement                     

Gift of Diamonds is a story of survival. Mica loves life. She wants to live and she wants her parents to enjoy life with her and her family. A very simple wish; and yet, so difficult to attain. Often, to achieve a simple end, one must pass through complicated passages. This is survival – to overcome evil and to live. The opposite of EVIL is LIVE. They are anagrams, opposing forces.

Sometimes evil is embodied in men, who unfortunately become leaders and for their own demented pleasure and twisted reasons impose a reign of terror on others. In Gift of Diamonds Mica becomes a victim of such evil: evil in governments, evil in society, evil in individuals. Her escape toward freedom is the triumph of her goodness and her power to fight.

As a student, I loved to read the poems of Baudelaire, the 19th century French Symbolist poet. In “Les Fleurs du Mal” (The Flowers of Evil), Baudelaire describes the Evil inside Man, and how Man desires to be free of this Evil. For Baudelaire, hypocrisy, boredom, inertia, laziness, cruelty, are all different masks of Evil. But when, and if, Man can exert himself with willpower and love, there is beauty- flowers- that emerge from this Evil.

Baudelaire says it symbolically in “Le Spleen de Paris”:

“Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question. Pour ne pas sentir l’horrible fardeau du Temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.

Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez- vous.”

“One must always be drunk. Everything is there: it is the unique question. In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time that breaks your shoulders and inclines you toward the earth, one must always be drunk without stopping.

But of what? Of wine, of poetry, of virtue, at your choice. But be drunk.”

For Baudelaire, to get drunk, “Enivrez-vous,” means to live passionately, to give oneself completely to what one loves. To get the most out of life.

Those who have survived horrific tragedies of life, be it from politics or disease or loss or other reasons, know how their core has been charred. They know how important it is to be free of pain. And once free, they know how to intensely appreciate the pleasures of life. This is the consolation of suffering, the reward for pain. These pleasures are the “Flowers,” les Fleurs, Les Fleurs du Mal, that come from Evil.

Protagonist and author, Mica and I, have both learned from opening up the Memory Chest for Gift of Diamonds, that to LIVE to the fullest, is the best revenge against EVIL.

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