Plus jeune, ce passage extrait du livre Halls of the Arcanum m'avait impressionné, jusqu'à ce que je me rende compte que le tout emprunte largement de Joseph Campbell (mais bon, à quoi s'attendre d'un supplément de jeux de rôles de troisième ordre? un Goncourt?) C'est curieux de m'intéresser à des trucs à la Dan Brown, étant donné mon athéisme plutôt militant et mon dédain des adeptes des théories du Complot. Que je puisse avoir un intérêt dans un quelconque mysticisme, n'est pour moi une spiritualité et une espérance dans une certaine métaphysique qui sont des éléments communs à chaque humain, mais l'observation que chaque personne fait une recherche de sens.
Et puis, on ne devient athée par méconnaissance des religions et des spiritualités: au contraire, cet aboutissement est le résultat de plusieurs années de réflexions, de comparaisons entre les différents système de croyances, pour se rendre compte qu'une appréciation à la fois scientifique et humaniste de la réalité, basée sur le fait que les autres humains existent vraiment, est nettement préférable à n'importe quel spéculation relative à un au-delà pour lequel des gens (priant pourtant au même dieu...) se tuent depuis des millénaires.
Sans plus tarder, le passage en question:
"What did I gain from this? I have uncovered the truths behind so many events commonly overlooked, and I have learned things lost to human history. I have read the Poison Book, and have learned the secret of the White Tower. I know the truth behind the massacre of 30,000 Calvinists by the French crown on St.Bartholomew's Day. I know why the hearts and bodies of the Hapsburgs are buried separately in the Loretto Chapel. I have seen what secrets lie behind the musical notations of Allegri's Miserere, and I know the fate of the Khazars and what riddles lay locked in the stones of Notre Dame.
How sad that it took years of study and travel, much of which proved ruinous to my health, to learn that this truth which I so eagerly sought could be found within me. The experiences which defined my life, however powerful, how utterly real and significant (and frightening in light of what contemporary man believes to be the "real world"), are meaningless. True, I have seen and understood much beyond the pale of commonly accepted world views. I have dined with magi and seen the fay folk dance by moonlight; I have learned that death is only a milepost on the highway, and not a terminus. But these experiences were ultimately tagential to my true quest.
The soul is cloaked by a lifetime of experiences and encounters which serve not to enrich this essential core of humanity, this fragment of divinity, but rather to shadow and obscure it. Only by cutting through the many layers of facades and imposed ideologies that develop through time may we come face to face with our true selves. Both the Journey and the destination can be painful, but the specific path one travels is of little import. Whether one chooses shamanic practices of tribal societies, the meditations of Orthodox monks atop Mount Athos, or the clinical processes of modern psychotherapy, the final goal is the same: to learn how to slice away the many layers beneath which the soul buried. This is a painful process, for we build these layers to protect ourselves from the truth, a truth which is more painful, at times, than fiction. "The truth hurts" is a profound statement, though it is bandied about as a trivial clichés.
I am an old man now, too old to begin another quest, and I have learned much, perhaps more than I was meant to know. Some dismiss my musings as the prattling of a doddering old fool - but they are more the fool for believing so. I will let the secrets come to me, or they are unworthy of my attention. I see new generations of scholars preparing to embark upon the Journey, and I fear for, as well as envy, them. They are about to undertake the greatest quests anyone can imagine. Though some will fall by the wayside, others may eventually achieve their goals. And some may learn, as the Sufi parable teaches us, that in all our searchings, ultimately we are the sought and Heaven the seekers."
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