To this day the
photos of the burnt, mangled corpse of Pier Paolo Pasolini lying on the
beachside in Ostia, Italy are still among the most shocking images one
could ever see. How could such a vivacious, multi-talented individual,
who some have ranked among the greatest artists of this century, have
met with such a gruesome end? The answers can be discerned only if one
forgoes traditional conclusions (and the prejudice that usually
accompanies them.) For it is the considered opinion of some that
Pasolini simply met his fate. After all, this director - whose first
film, Accattone, begins by proclaiming "IT'S JUDGEMENT DAY!" and
whose last film, Salo - The 120 Days of Sodom, is perhaps the
bleakest, most repugnant vision of humanity that anyone has ever
committed to film - seemed to be on one continuous downward slide
"MEN SPEAK of deserved and
undeserved fate, of reward and punishment, retribution and
All these are only
part-designations of a Law resting in Creation: The Law of
A Law which lies
in the entire Creation from its earliest beginning, which has been
inseparably interwoven with the great, never-ceasing evolution as an
essential part of creating itself, and of development. Like a gigantic
system of the finest nerve-strands, it supports and animates the
mighty Universe, and promotes continual movement, an eternal giving
Plainly and simply, and
yet so aptly, Jesus Christ has already expressed it: "What a man
sows that shall he reap!"
These few words
render the picture of the activity and life in the entire Creation so
excellently that it can hardly be expressed differently. The meaning
of the words is inflexibly interwoven with life. Immovable,
inviolable, incorruptible in its continual operation.
You can see it if
you want to see! Begin by observing the surroundings now
visible to you. What you call Laws of Nature are, of course, the
Divine Laws, are the Creator's Will. You will quickly recognise how
unswerving they are in constant activity; for if you sow wheat you
will not reap rye, and if you scatter rye it cannot bring you
This is so
obvious to every man that he simply never reflects on the actual
process. Therefore he does not become at all conscious of the strict
and great Law resting in it. And yet here he faces the answer to a
riddle, which need be no riddle to him.
Now the same Law which
you are able to observe here takes effect with equal certainty and
force also in the most delicate things, which you are only able to
discern through magnifying glasses, and, going still further, in the
ethereal part of the whole Creation, which is by far the larger part.
It lies immutably in every happening, also in the most delicate
development of your thoughts,
which also still have a certain element of material
How could you
imagine that it should be different just where you would like to have
it so? Your doubts are in reality nothing more than the expression of
your inner wishes!
In all existence,
visible and invisible to you, it is no different, but each kind
produces its own kind, no matter what the substance. Just as continual
are the growing and developing, the bearing of fruit and reproducing
of the same kind. This process runs uniformly through
everything, it makes no distinctions, leaves no gap, it does not stop
at some other part of Creation, but carries the effects through like
an unbreakable thread, without interruption or cessation.
Even though the
greater part of mankind, in their limitation and conceit, have
isolated themselves from the Universe, the Divine or Natural Laws have
not ceased on that account to regard them as belonging to it, and to
go on working without change, calmly and evenly.
But the Law of Reciprocal
Action also stipulates that whatever a man sows, thus where he causes
an effect or consequence, he must also reap!
Only at the
beginning of every matter is man free to resolve, free to decide where
the Omnipotent Power flowing through him is to be guided, in what
direction. He must then bear the consequences arising from the
Power that was set in motion in the direction willed by him. In spite
of this, many persist in asserting that even so man has no free will
if he is subject to fate!
is only meant to serve as a narcotic, or to be a grudging submission
to something inevitable, a discontented resignation, but mainly a
self-excuse; for each of these consequences falling back on him had a
beginning, and at this beginning the cause of the subsequent
effect lay in a previous free decision by man.
decision has at some time or other preceded every reciprocal
action, thus every fate! With a first volition man has each time
produced or created something in which he himself has to live
afterwards, sooner or later. When this will happen, however,
varies greatly. It can still be in the same earth-life in which his
first volition made the beginning for it, but it can equally well
happen in the Ethereal World, when the gross material body has been
laid aside, or later still in yet another gross material
The variations are not
important here, they do not free man from the consequences. He carries
the connecting threads with him continually, until he is redeemed from
them, that is to say, "detached" through the final effect that ensues
through the Law of Reciprocal
The one who forms is bound
to his own work, even if he has intended it for
How often does one hear
otherwise very sensible people say: "It is incomprehensible to me that
God should allow such a thing!"
But it is
incomprehensible that men can speak thus! How small they imagine God to
be with this remark. They prove thereby that they think of Him as an
"arbitrarily acting God".
But God does not at
all directly intervene in all these small and great cares of men, such
as wars, misery and other earthly matters! From the very beginning He
has woven into Creation His perfect Laws, which automatically carry out
their incorruptible work so that all is accurately fulfilled, forever
taking effect uniformly, thus preventing any preference as well as any
prejudice, an injustice being impossible.
Hence God has no need to trouble
Himself especially about this, His Work is without flaws.
But one of the
principal mistakes so many people make is that they only judge according
to gross matter, regarding themselves as the centre therein, and taking
into consideration one earth-life, whereas in reality they
already have several earth-lives behind them. These, as well as
the intervening times in the Ethereal World, are equal to one uniform
existence, through which the threads are tightly stretched without
breaking, so that in the effects of a particular earthly existence only
a small part of these threads therefore becomes visible.
Hence it is a great
mistake to believe that at birth an absolutely new life begins, that a
child is thus "innocent", and that all happenings can be accounted for
in only the short life on earth. If this were true, then the existing
justice would naturally require the combined causes, effects and
reactions to occur during the span of one earth-life.
Turn away from this error. You
will then soon discover in everything that happens the logic and justice
which are now so often missed!" (Abd-ru-shin, "IN THE LIGHT OF TRUTH: THE GRAIL
MESSAGE", chapter "Fate")
One would be hard
pressed to find anyone, who had more of a profound reverence for the
natural world around him than did Pasolini. No other director comes to
mind, who so often pointed his camera upwards. Through cinema Pasolini
sought to express his conviction that the sacred quality of life is to
be found not in any religion, but in life itself, in its naturalness.
"All is sacred," so used to say this self-professed atheist. When asked
at a press conference in 1966 "Why do you
deal with religious themes, you yourself being an unbeliever?", Pasolini
replied: "If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me
better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever
who has a nostalgia for a belief." No religion could express the depth of his feeling for the
sacred naturalness of life - and so he prefered to renounce them all.
His unique contribution to the TruthQuest is in taking the concept of
holiness out of the religious context and placing it where it belongs:
in everyday life. This perception of the natural sacredness of life
enabled him to make such films as Accattone, Gospel According to
Matthew, Hawks and Sparrows, Oedipus Rex and Medea. In them
the sacred quality is poetically conveyed by the very naturalness of the
"ALL IS SACRED! ALL
(from Pasolini's Medea)
It is more than interesting to contemplate the fact that it fell to
the lot of an "atheist" to make the best film on the life of Christ.
This graphically shows us that what is decisive for a man's fate is not
his outward designation of belief or disbelief, but his INNER state of
being (his secret longing for something more than what this world has to
offer.) Pasolini himself observed this phenomena, when he related how,
during the shooting of the Gospel According to Matthew, he made a
conscious decision to make this film "from the believer's point of view"
and how later, upon viewing the film, he recognized, all of a sudden,
that he actually made it "from my own point of view." It is this kind of
self-honesty that distinguishes Pasolini from other filmmakers.
It is, therefore, with honest intentions (and not for the sake
of sensationalism) that Pasolini took his search for the meaning of life
into the territory of sex and violence. From this as well we can draw a
valuable lesson for ourselves: one is free to take one's quest in any
direction, but NOT without becoming subject to its consequences. The
forces thus unleashed will come back to and overpower the spirit, who
made the unwise choice and persisted in that choice. The returning
reactions will then oppress and bind the spirit, making it more
difficult for it to take its quest once more in an upward direction. The
choice of direction is therefore critical for every seeker of Truth. The
longer one chooses to seek in a downward direction of base instincts
and/or trivialities, the weaker and more oppressed his spirit becomes.
If one ignores this feeling of spiritual oppression and persists on this
course, his spirit will eventually become so weak that he will be unable
to exert his free will to get himself out of the mire (and may even no
longer see any need to do so.) In essence, he will have enslaved his
free will and wasted his spiritual strength by seeking for too long in
the wrong places.
- "The more conscious I was of 'the good and the beautiful,'
the deeper I sank into the mud, and the more likely I was to remain
mired in it. But what struck me was the feeling I had that, in my
case, it wasn't accidental, that it was intended to be that way, as
if that were my normal state rather than a sickness or depravity; so
that finally I lost all desire to fight my depravity. In the end, I
almost believed (perhaps I even did believe) that it actually was my
normal state." (Dostoyevsky - Notes from the Underground)
- This is, essentially, what happened to Pasolini; both his art
and his life testify to that. Pasolini himself noticed something of
this. Renouncing his Trilogy of Life, he commented that he used
to feel that the young were beautiful and that their bodies were
beautiful, but now he felt that they were ugly and that their bodies
were also ugly.
Beauty belongs to the spirit alone. The body must serve as a
tool for the spirit. If the body is elevated to an unnatural
position of dominance over the spirit, then only distortions in
perception, thinking and living can result. As long as Pasolini was
seeking in an upward direction, trying to find through his cinema the
connection with the Natural Holiness of All, he saw that everything,
including the body, was beautiful and had a purpose. Once he abandoned
the upward path, he became entangled in low propensities and
obsessions and lost all connection with the naturalness and true
meaning of life. His world and his films became ugly and sank into the
abyss of darkness and despair. At the end of his film Teorema,
Pasolini captures this state by showing an unclothed man running
through a desolate landscape, screaming into the void.
- "At times the man, shuddering at the alienation between the
I and the world, comes to reflect that something is to be
done. As when in the grave night-hour you lie, racked by waking
dreams - bulwarks have fallen away and the abyss is screaming - and
note amid your torment: there is still life, if only I got through
to it - but how, how?..." (from I and Thou by
- In order to successfully advance on our TruthQuest, there is no
need to reveal the body - there is, however, every need to reveal the
spirit within us. Let us take that as a lesson learned from
Pasolini on our quest with us, and in doing so we will also be helping
him in his struggle to return to true life.