Title: Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Author: Richard Bach.
Genre: Fiction, novella, fable, philosophical fiction.
Publication Date: 1970.
Summary: This is a is a fable about a seagull learning about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection.This is the 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 seagull Jonathan, wanting to be unique, and wishing to learn flying higher and faster than anyone ever dreamed.
My rating: 9/10.
♥ What he had once hoped for the Flock, he now gained for himself alone; he learned to fly, and was not sorry for the price that he had paid, Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reason that a gull's life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.
♥ At two hundred fifty miles per hour he felt that he was nearing his level-flight maximum speed. At two hundred seventy-three he thought that he was flying as fast as he could fly, and he was ever so faintly disappointed. There was a limit to how much the new body could do, and though it was much faster than his old level-flight record, it was still a limit that would take great efforts to crack. In heaven, he thought, there should be no limits.
♥ "Well, what happens from here? Where are we going? Is there no such place as heaven?"
"No, Jonathan, there is no such place. Heaven is not a place, and it is not time. Heaven is being perfect." He was silent for a moment. "You are a very fast flier, aren't you?"
"I... I enjoy speed," Jonathan said, taken aback but proud that the Elder had noticed.
"You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn't flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn't have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there."
♥ "To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is," he said, "you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived..."
The trick, according to Chiang, was for Jonathan to stop seeing himself as trapped inside a limited body that had a forty-two-inch wingspan and performance that could be plotted on a chart. The trick was to know that his true nature lived, as perfect as an unwritten number, everywhere at once across space and time.
♥ Sullivan sighed, but he did not argue. "I think I'll miss you, Jonathan," was all he said.
"Sully, for shame!" Jonathan said in reproach, "and don't be foolish! What are we trying to practice every day? If our friendship depends on things like space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we 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?"