Guest Author - Siobhain M Cullen
Everything That Rises Must Converge is a collection of short stories written by famous respected American short story writer Flannery O Connor. Fans of the TV show Lost may be interested in the mysterious philosophical themes that permeate the seemingly innocuous and simple threads that run through the story of superficial day to day trivia. The clues for discussion lie in the background of Flannery O Connor and her influences.
Once readers have gleaned a little of the forces that made Flannery O Connor tick, then they may be ready to tackle the challenging task of retrieving and sieving the secret messages so skilfully hidden in her Christian books.
For example, to start at the very beginning - what about the title? Is it really true that 'everything that rises must converge?' Is this, for example, a quote from Flannery O Connor herself, or has she been influenced by someone else? Many believe that her gritty catholicism and her feelings about the works of French scientist, philosopher, priest and guru -Pierre de Chardin - strongly influenced her short stories.
The title 'Everything That Rises Must Converge' appears in an extract from the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. The American Teilhard Association tells us in their excellent short bio of the priest, that de Chardin's childhood years in southern France, his travelling and geological scientific research helped to form his theories and writings. His mystical, philosophical reflections on Life,The Universe and Everything were born, they consider, of his interactions with the divine. The article goes on to say that these life experiences shaped his gifted insights into the roles of humans in the evolutionary process.
However,other sources mention that his musings didn't please everybody and his ideas about creation were upsetting to some. His theories on 'the omega point' and 'noosphere' can be explored futher on Wikipedia although much of the information is still unsourced.
In the story titled with his quote (which Flannery O Connor wrote in her last days of illness) powerful themes are surely present if you look. Repressed anger, violence, guilt, dependency, separation anxiety, sacrifice, work, fear and love are all mixed together, but is 'converge' the right word?
The short story begins with the image of a dutiful son. He is waiting with almost unbearable claustrophobic impatience in the hallway for his aging mom to get ready to go the diet class her doctor says she must attend. He is young and just out of college - he has things to do! It feels like evening and the colors are depressing - mauve, grey,florid. We imagine dim orange street lights and only the piercing blue of the old lady's eyes lightens the scene.
However, he promised to escort his mother after being reminded of how she slaved alone to complete the almost insurmountable task of raising him and putting him through college. She sacrificed all of herself and her potential in order to do it. He hates what this has made her - an old lady fussing and muttering for hours in front of a mirror in trivial wonderment at which ghastly over-priced hat to wear to the diet club - yet he knows he is mostly responsible for it.
And so they set off, but even at the last second when he is counting down the minutes, itching for the moment when his onerous task will be over, she is still running back to change her awful hat...
Ans so we leave them, to their dreadful fate. To find out what happens, it is necessary of course to read the whole story, but for those interested in clues relevant to secrets and mysteries of Lost or The Meaning Of Life And Why We Are Here and why Everything That Rises Must Converge, perhaps it is also necessary to have recourse to the writings of Pierre Teilhard De Chardin!.