Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book Review - The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell

I cannot imagine reading a book more pertinent to the moment, in my life, than this one was, now, for me.  It is a memoir of an amazing year in the remarkable life of a little man named Feliks Zhukovski.  You know I don't like to retell the story in my reviews.  This remains true in this case.  Suffice it to say that Feliks left Poland as a boy, just one week before Hitler invaded that land.  He lived in Switzerland during the War and in France the balance of his life.  Most of his adult life is spent traveling extensively in the Eastern Bloc as it was called under the thumb of the USSR and is now experiencing the momentous changes in the political structure of Eastern Europe as the Soviet Union crumbles and the Berlin wall comes crashing down.  That is not the story, that is the backdrop.

I learned so much about life behind the iron curtain during those years we call the Cold War.  The book showed me that life from a number of different perspectives.  I loved the colorful tour through a drab scene Jim Powell provided in a most unique and poignant way.  That, provided the atmosphere.

The story was more about certainty and confusion, about ideals and disaster, about lofty visions shading grimy realities.  It was about ideas versus experiences.  It was about understanding and compassion.  It was about thinking one thing academically, only to discover another truth entirely in the actual experience of life.

I have long held that in the pre-mortal experience we knew all there is to know.  What we lacked was experience.  We came to mortality to make practical application of the things we thought we knew.  It is one thing to know that a hot stove will burn you.  It is entirely another, to actually experience the placing of one's hand on that hot stove.  So, brilliant people cook up brilliant ideals for our lives and storm the political landscape with them; while in the end, they remain our lives, lived and lost, suffered and enjoyed, full of struggles and triumphs, mistakes and successes, lives of experience; the thing mortality is made of.

In the end (thinking about the National Elections day after tomorrow) it is people that matter, not policies and parties and power and posturing.  Like Eastern Europe we've developed a system of government that has concluded that the ends justify the means.  And like the former USSR, we are quickly running out of the means to carry it off.  That seems totally lost on those who seek to guide our future.  Not unlike the Communists, Congress will carry on with an attitude that "you need to break a few eggs to make an omelet."  Which might seem fine, until you realize that the omelet is not for us, but for them.

History, will surely repeat itself.  The egg breakers will continue down their reckless path and eventually the house of cards they imagine themselves to be building will tumble, revealing it for the illusion it has become.  Lives will be shattered, broken, crushed, but experience will be gained and the purpose of mortality fulfilled.  It is time to think more seriously about the people across the dinner table and less so about those across the Potomac.

Five Stars!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...