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Where on Earth Is Heaven?

November 2009
More details
  • Publisher
    Hawthorn Press
  • Published
    20th November 2009
  • ISBN 9781903458907
  • Language English
  • Pages 592 pp.
  • Images 138

“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.”

“A deeply thoughtful book, the result of a lifetime of thinking, reading, and conversations with an amazing cast of people.” —Sir Mark Tully, BBC television series, The Lives of Jesus 

“A real quest, with outward work perfectly integrated with an inner search.” —Karen Armstrong, author of The Battle for God 

“A thoughtful book by a thoughtful man.” —Ben Okri, Nigerian poet and novelist

Jonathan Stedall

Jonathan Stedall has made documentary films for over fifty years, mainly at the BBC. There he worked with John Betjeman, Laurens van der Post, Cecil Collins, Malcolm Muggeridge, Alan Bennet, Ron Eyre, Bernard Lovell, Theodore Roszak, E.F. Schumacher, Mark Tully and Ben Okri. He has also directed major biographies on Tolstoy, Gandhi, C.G. Jung, and Rudolf Steiner. His film about a Camphill school in Scotland for children with special needs won a British Film Academy Award in 1968, and later work was nominated by BAFTA and the Broadcasting Press Guild.