This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules...people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves...people who know there's more to this living than meets the eye: they'll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and... read more
The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion from his flock. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads an idyllic life.
One day, Jonathan is met by two gulls who take him to a "higher plane of existence" (reminiscent of the beliefs of Chinese, in that there is no heaven but a better world found through perfection of knowledge), where he meets other gulls who love to fly. He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn make him "pretty well a one-in-a-million bird." Jonathan befriends the wisest gull in this new place, named Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous learning, teaching him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the Universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to "begin by knowing that you have already arrived..."
Not satisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like him, to bring them his learning and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, gathering around him others who have been outlawed for not conforming. Ultimately, the very first of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, becomes a teacher in his own right and Jonathan leaves to continue his learning.
The Part One of the book finds young Jonathan Livingston frustrated with the meaningless materialism and conformity and limitation of the seagull life. He is seized with a passion for flight of all kinds, and his soul soars as he experiments with exhilarating challenges of daring and triumphant aerial feats. Eventually, his lack of conformity to the limited seagull life leads him into conflict with his flock, and they turn their backs on him, casting him out of their society and exiling him. Not deterred by this, Jonathan continues his efforts to reach higher and higher flight goals, finding he is often successful but eventually he can fly no higher. He is then met by two radiant, loving seagulls who explain to him that he has learned much, and that they are there now to teach him more. The flocks follow him and create another flock
In the second Part, Jonathan transcends into another society where all the gulls enjoy flying. He is only capable of this after practicing hard alone for a long time (described in the first part). In this other society, real respect emerges as a contrast of the coercive force that was keeping the former "Breakfast Flock" together. The learning process, linking the highly experienced teacher and the diligent student, is raised into almost sacred level, suggesting that this may be the true relation between human and God. Because of this, Bach has been described as believing that human and God, regardless of the all immense difference, are sharing something of great importance that can bind them together: "You've got to understand that a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull." He realizes that you have to be true to yourself.
The introduction to the third part of the book is the last words of Jonathan's teacher: "Keep working on love." In this part Jonathan understands that the spirit cannot be really free without the ability to forgive, and that the way to progress leads--for him, at least--through becoming a teacher, not just through working hard as a student. Jonathan returns to the Breakfast Flock to share his newly discovered ideals and the recent tremendous experience, ready for the difficult fight against the current rules of that society. The ability to forgive seems to be a mandatory "passing condition."
"Do you want to fly so much that you will forgive the Flock, and learn, and go back to them one day and work to help them know?" Jonathan asks his first student, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, before getting into any further talks. The idea that the stronger can reach more by leaving the weaker friends behind seems totally rejected.
Hence, love, deserved respect, and forgiveness all seem to be equally important to the freedom from the pressure to obey the rules just because they are commonly accepted.
“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way”
“Such promises are only for the gulls that accept the ordinary. One who has touched excellence in his learning has no need of that kind of promise.”
“The one who sees farthest flies highest.”
“Who is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows meaning, a higher purpose for life? For a thousand years we have scrabbled after fish heads, but now we have a reason to live – to learn, to discover, to be free!”
“Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that gull’s life is so short and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.”
“The gulls who scorn perfection for the sake of travel go nowhere, slowly. Those who put aside travel for the sake of perfection go anywhere, instantly.”
Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too….”Highlighted by 79 Kindle customers
we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.”Highlighted by 68 Kindle customers
“To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is,” he said, “you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived.”Highlighted by 66 Kindle customers
Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.”Highlighted by 62 Kindle customers
Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect.”Highlighted by 54 Kindle customers
“The only true law is that which leads to freedom,” Jonathan said. “There is no other.”Highlighted by 46 Kindle customers
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