Paul John Knowles: The Casanova Killer
Golden told Fawkes that he had read one book that had inspired him: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. According to her, it was the biggest influence of his life, in part because it was about a creature of high intelligence who was not appreciated by his flock - a gifted outsider. A sensation when it was published four years earlier in 1970, it features a seagull who breaks away from the flock and learns on his own to become an individual. He experiments with flying techniques in ways that seagulls would never do and, in that experience, finds freedom to fly in his own pattern. He risks disgrace, failure, and ostracism to go his own way, and in the process discovers experiences that the others could never know or enjoy. Jonathan is no ordinary bird; he wants more than the other birds do. Theyre content to just do what they need to do to survive, but Jonathan puts his efforts into the glory of flying. He feels pressured by others - even shamed -- to conform to a more mundane way of existence, but he refuses. Hes utterly alone in his ambitions and experiences, especially when he learns to fly in the dark. Seagulls supposedly never do that, but he explores it and finds that he enjoys it. He brings his fear under control and sets out to break through the limitations imposed by the rules of the flock to become something entirely new to his species. It doesnt matter how lonely he feels; what matters is that he has become something amazing. The others view him as irresponsible and even dangerous, but Jonathan continues to go his way alone, content in being an outcast.
Eventually other outcasts join him, and they return to the flock to try to wake up the younger generation. Jonathans guiding idea is, You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, and Whatever stands against the freedom must be set aside. No limitation should be accepted. In the end, Jonathan is a Christ figure, both revered and reviled, and altogether misunderstood. He gives his message to a young disciple, who sees things as they are and prepares to pass on the wisdom.