Why should I live; why wish for anything or do anything? In short, has life any meaning that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy? – Leo Tolstoy
This book is a response to the author’s young son once asking, “Where on Earth is Heaven?” For Jonathan Stedall, what lies behind this question has motivated his long career as a distinguished documentary director. He has worked with some of the most original and thoughtful minds of our time. His films – about Tolstoy, Gandhi, Jung, the educational and therapeutic work inspired by Rudolf Steiner – have been milestones on his journey of exploration; so, too, the insights of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Stedall explores challenging questions about living and dying, looking and seeing, Heaven and Earth, and our human potential. He draws on forty years film-making experience – mostly with the BBC – working with inspired artists, scientists, and writers such as John Betjeman, Laurens van der Post, Fritz Schumacher, Bernard Lovell, Malcolm Muggeridge, Alan Bennett, Fritjof Capra, Cecil Collins, Ben Okri, and Mark Tully.
Along the way, he has also pondered deeply on the notion of the human being as a microcosm of the macrocosm, the meaning of eternity as “the everlasting now,” the role of the holy fool, and the redemptive power of love. Above all, he has been increasingly absorbed not just by what is “seen,” but also by what is “unseen.”
The Long Search, describes how the author’s quest – whether in the African bush, in the streets of San Francisco, among the hill temples of northern India, or in the lanes of Cornwall – has also been enriched enormously by his encounters with so-called ordinary men and women who have struggled not only to cope with the trials and joys of life, but also to find meaning in their lives – meaning that transforms the dualism inherent in phrases such as “spirit and matter,” “life and death,” and “Heaven and Earth.”
About the Author
Jonathan Stedall is a distinguished BBC documentary film maker of more than 150 films. He won the BAFTA Robert Flaherty Award in 1968 for In Need of Special Care, about a Camphill school in Scotland for children with special needs—a film typical of the gentle and sensitive style of film making that has won him much praise through the years.
Richard Tarnas is a professor of philosophy and cultural history at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS,)San Francisco, and the founding director of its graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. He also lectures on archetypal studies and depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara. A graduate of Harvard and a former director of programs at Esalen Institute, he is the author of The Passion of the Western Mind, a history of the Western worldview from the ancient Greeks to the postmodern culture, which became both a bestseller and a required text in many universities. His most recent book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, received the Book of the Year Prize from the Scientific and Medical Network in the UK.