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“The only way to conquer death is to make your life a masterpiece.”  A pearl of great price, not from Confucius, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Woody Allen or even . . . me.  Surprisingly, it’s from Dan Brown, the da Vinci code guy, in his latest book, “Origin”.  We’ll devote another post to this most recent of his best-sellers, but for the nonce this one phrase deserves its own.

Christians claim that Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead (if He did it for Lazarus, why not for Himself ?).  Even if you’re naïve enough to believe that, Brown’s maxim still makes a lot of sense (and even more if you aren’t).  The meaning of life ?  To make the most of it while it lasts – or the best you can.

Bach, Mozart and Dave Brubeck produced masterpieces; so did Shakespeare, Molière and Christopher Hitchens (and, I must add, David Lean for his movie “Lawrence of Arabia”).  But their lives were not necessarily masterpieces.  Gandhi, the Abbé Pierre and, of course (for Christians) Jesus, lived lives that we could call veritable masterpieces.

Neither my life nor what I have written will ever be considered masterpieces, nor even a footnote to human history and thought.  But my book and blog, whatever about my life, are the best I could do.  At least I tried.  So I reckon the effort alone deserves a “C” (at least . . .).

RIDENDA      RELIGIO

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