Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery
Hero worship is a BIG thing for me.
To dream about meeting them and listening to them and following their footsteps and imbuing a part of their spirit.
But mostly, it is envying the life that happened to them / the life they led whichever the case may be.
Am sure we each have our heroes and much of our discussions with our children are about picking out the right criteria for selecting these pedestal people.
Some fall off that sacred spot because we learn more about them and we don’t fancy what we see. Others don’t fall off that pedestal, but we abandon that entire field in which that pedestal stands and we create new ones in the one that interest us much more and find new heroes for those. And if we are most unfortunate, it so happens that we ourselves grow up in stature – at least in our own minds – and then the pedestal is deigned too short for any worship.
And that is unfortunate because having a hero to worship is a boon. It provides motivation and inspiration. A hero has that god-like ethereal quality that we might never be able to truly touch them in any significant way. In my case, my heroes are mostly all from some previous century – and so mostly dead. Their unreachability adds some height to the pedestal. And they remain like angels – hovering around the mind forever – goading on my spirit and desires.
So it is with Heinrich Harrer.
Much of his life just happened to him. He didn’t lead it – he followed. And then he made the most of his circumstance. But that does not take away from fact that his is one of the most exciting journeys that I have read about. Surely there must be more exciting lives in the history of mankind, but perhaps they were not written down or maybe I haven’t read them.
I do not know what my hero looked like. Brad Pitt playing his role in the film based on Harrer’s book “Seven years in Tibet” was excellent eye-candy but Brad is not the hero here.
My hero is Heinrich Harrer himself.
If I could meet him for coffee or lunch would I be happy? Probably not. If he could spend an afternoon telling me his most interesting stories – would I be happy? Probably not. The only thing that will satisfy me, is to walk alongside him through his journey 75 years ago. As an observer, as a participant. As just living my own life following those steps of adventure.
Quite an impossible idea!
And so I will make do with his legacy objects. Objects that he owned, collected on the very journey that idolize!! Maybe I will capture some of his spirit through these bits and pieces that he touched and loved. In addition to the vanishing culture of Tibet, I will experience some of Heinrich Harrer’s spirit through these.
In the olden day people received boons – greeks, indians and others – so the idea of wishing for a boon is not that ridiculous. So the boon I will ask for is to have the power to inhabit another’s life – at will. A delicious dream to think about!
And until then, I will make do with things like the large tibetan silver ghau prayer boxes.
And make-believe that my spirit touched his. Somewhat like this shot from the film E.T.
Across space. Across time. Across worlds.
I always liker your blog – thank you very much for all your work.
Did you read the biography of Peter Aufschnaiter, the fellow-traveller of Heinrich Harrer? He stayed in Tibet, married there and designed and build a new canalisation system in Lhasa.
After the Chinese came he moved to Nepal.
His book is very interesting, deeply spirituell and all the TIbetans I know still speak about him with deep respect.
He is still remembered by them, for many he is kind of a Saint.
Heinrich Harrer as a more outgoing person became famous in the West, Aufschnaiter was never interested in fame.
All the best to yo0u and a nice Sunday
Michael – thank you for the lead. I will get that book as soon as possible. As he is prominent in the books of Harrer I did wonder about him but did not research it further.
My current book is the story of Freya Stark – also a very inspiring traveler from the 1930s