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Jonathan Livingston Seagull Richard Bach

A story

January 08, 2022 - 308 words - 2 mins Found a typo? Edit me
spiritual self-help novel

A fable in novella form about a seagull who is trying to learn about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection.

Plot

The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself and learns everything he can about flying. His increasing unwillingness to conform finally results in his expulsion from the flock. Now an outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities while leading a peaceful and happy life.

One day Jonathan meets two gulls who take him to a “higher plane of existence” in which there is no heaven, but a better world found through perfection of knowledge. There he meets another seagull who loves to fly. He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn make him “pretty well a one-in-a-million bird.” In this new place, Jonathan befriends the wisest gull, Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous self-education, and teaches him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to “begin by knowing that you have already arrived.”

But, unsatisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like himself to tell them what he’d learned and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, and Jonathan gathers around himself a flock of other gulls who have been outlawed for not conforming. The first of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, ultimately becomes a teacher in his own right, and Jonathan leaves to teach other flocks.

This novella has been translated into over thirty languages.


Audiobook

100 pages