While We Are On Our Personal Odyssey . . .

16 June 1904 – The first occasion of what will ever after be known as “Bloomsday,” since the events in “Ulysses,” the monumentally great novel by James Joyce, take place in Dublin on this day, during the course of which Leopold Bloom, hero of the book, has experiences which symbolically recapitulate those of Odysseus in Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.”

Bloomsday might be an especially appropriate occasion for all of us to consider how our personal lives are influenced by historical and mythic forces in ways that are frequently beyond the ken of everyday consciousness, and that we should therefore do our best to act as creatively autonomous beings and not merely as unthinking minions of a culture or tradition. This is also a good day on which to remember that our journey through this world is at every moment a call to an adventure filled with both peril and promise, so that every decision we make or opportunity we fail to act on in some measure affects the collective destiny of the world.

Below: Milo O’Shea, who played Leopold Bloom in the 1967 film version of “Ulysses.”

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