My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
“A View from the Ridge” by Morris West
If you don’t immediately recall the name Morris West from reading some of his 20 novels, it’s almost certain that you’ve seen the films made from “The Shoes of the Fisherman” or “The Devil’s Advocate”.
Morris West sold many millions of books. His stories always had a spiritual dimension and were easy to read, engrossing and often thought provoking.
Towards the end of his life (he died in 1999) he wrote “A View from the Ridge” in which he looked back on the pilgrimage that was his life from the point of view of a 20th-century Christian. The result is an intimate testament of the evolution of his own personal creed of belief.
He is not asking, and for less demanding, that we share his faith in God, Jesus or the after life. Rather, the book is fascinating because he asks the same questions all of us ask at times in our lives. His answers are truly his own; but he challenges us to find our own answers for ourselves.
“We have to admit, first to ourselves, and then, very humbly, to one another, that we live at the heart of a dark mystery, which we can still only describe by allegory and legend or the sterile and incomplete formulae of physical science.
“The act of faith is not a leap from darkness into light. It is an affirmation that light exists beyond darkness, that the chaos and the cruelties of existence do, in the end, make some sense, and that the primal act of creation, with all that issued from it, was an act of love.
“The strongest compulsion to belief is not reason but need. We cannot endure to live in a mad universe. We are compelled, for our own sanity, to make sense of it. Sooner or later we are forced either to blasphemy or to the pilgrim search for the source of light – the shrine where creative love resides.
“This opening of the Self to the Other, the Creature to the Creator, is the first step along the winding road.”Morris West’s meditation on his own journey is a fascinating book that gently pushes and prods and challenges us with questions about our own life that we may never have considered before.
© Dennison Berwick 2007