|Benjamin Shiff's painting Life |
on the cover of The Cycle of Life
A primary tenet of my perspective on the journey through life, as I describe in the newly published The Cycle of Life, pertains to the confluence of fate and destiny, and how conscious choice and the unexpected turns of the tide flow together. How do predetermined fate and individual destiny cohabit in one’s life, how does fate determine one’s prospects, and in what ways can the individual determine the course of his or her possibilities? Everything is foreseen, and everything is laid bare, yet everything is in accordance with the will of man, says the Talmud. Likewise, as Jung observed, something that remains unconscious in the individual psyche, may become manifest as external fate. Sometimes, what has powerfully constellated in one’s psyche, yet remains below the level of consciousness, may materialize in physical reality.
Little did I anticipate that this would become apparent in my search for a cover image, the face of the book. I traveled along rivers of time and traversed cultural continents, ending up, so it seemed, with a coverless book in my hands. Then, in a sudden bliss, I remembered a painter whose name was at the tip of my tongue. As I extracted his name, Benjamin Shiff, from the layers of my memory, I was reminded of the balance between lyric harmony and pensive concern, which characterized the dream-like painting I recalled.