I do. I loved Shakespeare and even though I can’t remember everything that wonderful high school teacher tried to teach us to absorb and understand, certain passages stuck with me. Here’s one:
To die – to sleep.
To sleep – perchance to dream, ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
Say what? Without going into what “rub” means from so long ago (Google it and you’ll get all kinds of opinions with much notable resources), but in a nutshell, the “rub” is something that puts a kink in things. If I do this, what will happen, if I do that, what will happen? Hamlet was so tortured by this indecision, he thought about suicide/dying, but what if death were worse than life?
Theories/Quotes from Great Minds
One of Newton’s laws of motion says this:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” (This is what Hamlet was worried about — the kink, the rub!)
Yet, Einstein purportedly said this:
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
Maybe I’m reading too much into what all the geniuses of art and science said, but to me, it all means the same thing.
Now, for a new twist….(purely conjecture on my part) and not focusing so much on the suicide/death thing that Hamlet was:
What if when Shakespeare refers to “to die, to sleep,” when we sleep, isn’t that kind of a death?
Sometimes when we sleep we dream,”what dreams may come;”…is this our self-conscious self trying to tell us what we need to do? (Forget the weird dreams you have that make no sense). I’m talking about the ones that wake you up, with your heart pounding and you decide to change something.
C’mon, we’ve all been there.
When Shakespeare writes “shuffled off this mortal coil,” could he mean in that place between when we sleep and awaken? That drowsy passage before we realize that we’ve been dreaming and still, we think all things are possible… and the, ”must give us pause;” we think in that instant that today is going to be the day I’m going to go for my dream… maybe that’s what he meant.
Then, we wake up to the pressures of the life we have in front of us and forget about that moment of wonder.
We all did that as a child. We only changed our minds and for that day, we took an entirely different turn. Sometimes it worked out the way we thought it would and sometimes we got hurt and it didn’t work out. But we learned a lesson.
Maybe that’s what all the geniuses meant. Unless we take a chance, unless we seek to do the thing we think we cannot do (yes, Eleanor Roosevelt said that very thing), then maybe we’re setting ourselves up for an entirely different course.
Maybe that course will keep us safe and secure. Maybe if we take a chance to do something else, despite what friends, family and anyone else says, we’ll end up better — our soul will sing.
Or maybe not.
Ay, there’s the rub!