Richard Bach was born in 1936 in Oak Park, Ill. Grand son of JS Bach the great composer. He attended Long Beach State College (now California State University, Long Beach) in 1955. An airplane pilot, he got married with his first wife and had six children, then divorced and left his family in part because he didn’t believe in marriage. One of his children, Jonathan, wrote a book about his relationship with his father that he never knew, Above the Clouds. Everything concerning airplane was his field, including motion picture stunt pilot, Air Force tactical fighter pilot, an aviation technical writer and flight instructor.
Though Aviation was his true passion, he always wanted to write; since high school, one of his gym teachers made him realize his potential. Since 1959 he had this idea of a bird learning to pass beyond the walls of limitations, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. What seems like a simple story, maybe even childish has in fact a hidden meaning.
This hidden meaning is more like one of the laws of life that people nowadays seem to have forgotten – the fact that you can achieve anything you want if you actually work for it. This book cannot be placed in any classical genre.
In my opinion, is in a genre of its own… a life-inspiring book. This book reminds us that we can overcome any obstacles that are in our way… we just have to work for it. Jonathan, the main character, wasn’t happy with the fact that all seagulls did was search for food and squawk.
“Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s a reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly! Jonathan believed that he could achieve a whole new level of flying if he practiced.
He spent his days flying higher and higher trying to go faster and faster. He learned new techniques. His flock didn’t approve of this at one point Jonathan was even banished. Even then he spent his days flying. One day he crashed into a cliff but he woke up and started to fly again. Soon he met more gulls that also sought the same thing he did. Soon he realized that he was in Heaven. Heaven is a place where there are no limits, where you soar to unmeasurable heights. “Most of us came along ever so slowly.
We went from one world into another that was almost exactly lie it, forgetting right away where we had come from, not caring where we were headed, living for the moment. Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone though before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock? A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand! And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such a thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our purpose is to find that perfection and show it forth.
The same rule holds for us now, of course: 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. ” He made friends with the other seagulls that also wanted to achieve a new level in flying. Finally, he achieved what he spent so many days and nights searching for – transcendence. At the point he had to make a choice: to stay there in Heaven or to leave that wonderful place and try to find more gulls like him that understood that there was more to life. He decided to go back.
He was worried that he would never meet Fletcher (his guide in Heaven) again… “If our friendship depends on space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood. But overcome space, and all you have left is here. Overcome time and all you have left is now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice? ” Upon his return to the flock he indeed found more gulls that wanted to soar just like him. Each day more and more gulls joined him. Jonathan taught them new techniques, taught them love.
He explained to them that there was no point in being angry with the flock, that they should learn to forgive them and try to make them understand what they knew. This book applies to today’s society. People are afraid of change. They’re so used to things staying the same that even the thought of change scares them. They feel that the easiest way to get rid of this “problem” is to banish people. Turn them into outcasts. What they don’t understand is that being an outcast only brings more confidence, more ambition, and more power to achieve the impossible.
The most important thing is to not look back and overcome all obstacles that are in your way. Somebody once said, “If there’s a will, there’s a way”. All you have to do is remember that and you will achieve everything you want. I would recommend this book to any person who likes stories with a hidden meaning in them or anyone who’s forgotten that they can get anything they want done. As Richard Bach once said ” If you are given a wish you are also given the power to achieve it but you might have to work for it”.