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You can win BBC Sherlock keyring with Benedict Cumberbatch

NEWS: The game has been closed on the 10th of August 2014.

„People from all around the world,

I have a very special challenge to all who think they are gifted and clever enough to succeed. The task is not simple or trivial at all – this would be of course derogatory for such a great mind as myself. But do not recoil for a second. You will only need one thing: thinking.

Here is this qoute (some of you may be familiar with it):

„What is the meaning of it? What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end?” (Based on an Arthur Conan Doyle quote)

Your task is to write the answers you think can be given to these questions. Use your brains, dare to think, it is not difficult. But remember: it is not a topic that you can get over with a few lines.

Yours sincerely, Mycroft Holmes”

You can see the keyring in the background:

BBC Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch Keyring

Sherlockian Holmesian

You can read the answers and Mycroft's reactions below.

We are not in connection with BBC in any way. The game we launch is our game,
not a BBC game. Winners receive high quality keyrings, just like those who won
at our game connected with the Moriarty theory. (You can read here: The return of Moriarty)

Sherlockian Holmesian


Sherlockian Holmesian

NICKNAME: Ashley Mengel

AGE: 16

Object- a material thing that can be seen and touched
Strength- 1. the quality or state of being strong
2. a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing

Even though most people might not think of strength as being an object, strength can be seen and felt, by anyone. The meaning of strength is to provide others with courage, as well as the person who is providing it. This is why I believe strength is what is served by misery, violence, and fear. When someone crawls out of a terrible place, or arises from a state of hopelessness, they emerge stronger.

This strength is what gives us the power to make choices that affect our lives. This tends to some end, otherwise our universe is ruled by chance - which is what I believe to be fate. It is unthinkable to believe that we have absolutely no say in anything; that we can not change the future or control the present. No. Our strength MUST tend to some end. But what end?

The end is the limit. The limit of fate and the limit of strength. I do not believe that, like with fate, everything is set in stone. I also do not believe that we control every single event that takes place in the universe. After all, how could we stop a meteor if there was one hurtling towards Earth? The end, is the balance between fate and choice.

Is it fate that Moriarty was to return? Maybe. Is it fate that it is possible that Sherlock can lose? Perhaps. But I know that it is not fate, but strength, that Sherlock will need, to stop him.

Dear Ashley,

„That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” – told German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

„When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” (Jacob van Rijs, Dutch architect)

It is a well-known fact that I am an extremely persistent man. Persistence is also necessary for hope, intelligence, vision, creativity and success. I mean real success which has lots of work and achievement behind it. Who is steadfast, multiplies his/her possibilities and chances.

The questions that I raised are very tragic, we all face them and try to find answers to them, because they are the biggest and most important questions of life. You have to be persistent to find the answers. This quality can be found in every creature, but unfortunately many people cannot find it or appreciate it in themselves. Yet each day we spend with useful things proves our persistence.

You wrote about the limits too, that the negative events limit us and force us to make decisions. This is a wise statement. Just like you, I also think that these phenomena have their causes and we can learn a lot from them. We have to study them, study ourselves and the answers of others to them. We have to be aware of the nature of these things in order to live and understand. Many people may ask why I don’t prevent some tragic event since I am the ruler of the world. It is true that I have power, but I am by no means allmighty. Lions will always attack zebras, but we have to do something against the unreasonable tragedies caused by humans. Because of my age I found several answers to the questions, though I will not share them all with you – I would like to give the others the chance to participate, maybe there are still some who like to play. But one thing is for sure: there is a great need for people who are persistent and who like to think. And you, Ashley, have these characteristics – be proud of that. If you take the time and think on further answers, you certainly will find ways to make your life easier and to solve problems effectively – it will be beneficial for your environment too.

Probably I will not surprise you when I say that I was waiting for an answer like yours. Though you are still young, you recognized your persistence and realized that you can profit from it. There are countless people who fail to do this, yet it is vital to hold on and to be successful. Realizing it you are a half-winner in life, and a true winner in the game. I kindly ask you to be patient, because I will close the game in August. But you already won a keyring, and something else too – a nice Sherlock bookmark, made by a steadfast woman. I do hope both presents will remind you of that fantastic human characteristic that you already possess. Though this feature is not material, but it will always be with you.

„Is it fate that Moriarty was to return?” – you ask. We cannot say it for sure, but you know, every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain.

You write: „But I know that it is not fate, but strength, that Sherlock will need, to stop him.”

Well, I believe in Sherlock Holmes.

Kind regards,
Mycroft Holmes

Dear Players,

Mycroft Holmes gives an extra gift for those answers that are especially close to his heart. This extra gift is a cross-stitched Sherlock bookmark.

Others can choose from our free downloadable bookmarks here:
Free download - CBS Elementary and BBC Sherlock Bookmarks

Kind regards,

Sherlockian Holmesian

NICKNAME: Clarence Edwards

AGE: 21

“What is the meaning of it? What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end?”

It seems as though you are asking about the meaning of life which I believe no man or woman could really answer. Religions try to solve it and people question it constantly, but is there really a meaning behind it? Is life just someone else’s dream? Will someone, somewhere will wake up and everything will disappear as we know it? Or perhaps there is some ultimate power somewhere controlling what we do. Or maybe that entity is just sitting back on a couch flipping through channels on a television that narrates different individuals’ lives.

There is no true meaning, if you ask me. We’re born, we live, we experience, we learn, we teach, and then we let go. Slowly running out of steam before joining with the Earth. We’re expected to live how we wish to live, move how we want to move, learn from others, teach others, passing on all that we know before we expire like the many people before us. We choose the good path or the bad path. We decide what route we’re going to take, and it’s not always the correct one.

People make mistakes. That’s just what happens. And sometimes, these mistakes are based on something that someone else has done to them. Nothing serves this “circle of misery and violence and fear”. If anything, human kind is what fuels it onwards. People harm others, curse others, destroy others and all that does is bring about another who does the same; perhaps because they want someone else to feel like they do. They don’t want to be alone and that fear--the fear of being left to suffer in one’s loneliness--that is what ultimately keeps this circle moving in the same direction. It may never end.

It’s a circle of revenge and of hatred, of fear and of worry. As long as there are people on the Earth, people who feel emotions, make mistakes, and people who choose to make a decision or a choice (be it good or bad), the cycle will not end. Get rid of that, and all we have left is emptiness. A dark void that humanity should be filling, but that they have left open for someone else to fill. And then what? Someone else fills the void left behind by humanity finally ending that circle of hatred, and it starts all over again with a new species, a new form of fear and revenge.

The cycle will never end as long as humanity is around to fill it and the meaning will forever be truly obscured and biased on people and their various opinions. But ultimately, it’s all the same. Life is meant to be lived and passed on. Read slowly like the pages of a book and once you reach the end, you smile, and remember what had been left behind in those pages, before moving onto the next and leaving the meaning of life behind.

Dear Clarence,

There are situations when the road we choose is more important than the aim. At present we are like the police officers who were called in by Sherlock with gunshots. We are on our ways – and we have to believe that we can do something against violence, but we don’t inevitably have to use brutal methods. There are lots of good examples for that in history (Mahatma Gandhi, Desmond Doss, dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so on).

One thing is sure: some day some pages will be left behind and we move onto the next page, but not now. Till then I wish you lots of love and good health. Learn a lot, make right decisions, have as few mistakes as possible and smile as many as you can. I am grateful that you touched upon smile. English writer Joseph Addison wrote: „What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”

My answer is short but honest. I rarely make mistakes, and this is no exception. You won.

Kind regards,
Mycroft Holmes

Sherlockian Holmesian

NICKNAME: Callie Blackwell

AGE: 13

Many famous philosophers have thought on this same question. Not that the question was phrased in these exact words. But whatever variant they pondered, it makes no difference. Though the wording is slightly dissimilar, the question is the same. Of course, it is the question that has haunted mankind since we first began to wonder about more than surviving another day. What is the purpose of life?

Life, at its most basic, is fulfilling our basic needs so that we might keep living. But why bother? Why live if the only motivation is to keep living? What is the object of that? And there it is. The circle. Every day, we fight through pain and loss, only so that we can keep living and suffer more pain and loss. We strive to earn money, to gain power, precisely so can gain even more money and power. It's a never-ending cycle of desire, because we are never satisfied. It is never simply enough. So we endure this constant pain of living to give ourselves material happiness in the present. Which, by the way, is a very loose definition of happiness considering that this emotion stems from temporary bliss achieved chiefly by ignorance. Ignorance of what, exactly? Ignorance of the circle. We choose to ignore that our lives are composed of constantly wanting more than what we have, and in this ignorance we find temporary happiness that is nothing but a fictional pretense to soothe our minds. We choose to shut ourselves off from asking the point of all this, the point of life, because we would rather fill our short lives with material happiness than introduce doubt into the equation by questioning the purpose of our existence. When we find something we can't explain, it frightens us. We don't admit it, but it does. When we can't find an explanation, we pretend the question doesn't exist. We ignore it. Since we would rather be blind, we become blind. We forget to think in favor of finding whatever simple pleasures we can. So... what, then, is the point of this cycle of human ignorance?

The easiest answer, but the hardest to accept, is also the simplest. There is no purpose. There is no point, no hidden truth. We're alive simply because of chance. No divine purpose guides us. The only truth is the cold, hard reality: we simply exist. There's no reason why, except for the obvious scientific explanation of how we came to exist. But then again, a scientific explanation only answers how, not why. Humankind only exists as we do today because of sheer luck.

Of course, there are countless other possibilities, enumerable answers. Many people find their answer in religion. They believe they are here on Earth to serve a greater being than themselves. In this way, they find their purpose in striving to better themselves so they might be worthy of whichever deity they honor. A similar theory, another one that stems from religion, concerns more than just the individual's soul. Much like the previously discussed theory, the believers struggle to banish evil from their lives. But in this answer, they also try to eradicate evil from the world in the name of their religion. This often means they try to convert others to this same belief, in the hopes of helping more people to better themselves and thus shutting out sin and general wickedness.

Many people have similar beliefs, which involve freeing the world from malevolent forces and promoting goodness in everyday life. However, this theory is slightly different, as it does not stem from a religion. Some people claim the purpose of life is to practice exiling greed and selfishness from their own hearts. They endeavor to live the best life they possibly can live by just being good people. According to this mindset, the purpose of life is to serve the greater good. Those who think this is the purpose of life do not do it for the sake of a deity; no, they do it simply because they think it is the right thing to do.

Another common answer is happiness. Plain and simple, the purpose of life is happiness. Well, it seems simple. But how simple is happiness, really? Happiness means different things to everyone. For some, it is finding inner peace. They reconcile themselves to being content with what they have. Peace with nature, peace with others, peace with their own weaknesses and strengths. To others, happiness means more material things. Trivial things, one might say. Power. Money. Fame. Even destruction. Everyone has something they want more than anything else. Perhaps the purpose of life is to strive for that goal. Striving for individual happiness by fulfilling our ambitions could very well be the purpose of our existence. Though this outwardly appears to be a more selfish answer as to the purpose of life, there is nothing to say it could not be the correct answer. Others state that the purpose of our short existence is to help others. We are alive only to provide whatever assistance we can to those around us. In short, the purpose of life is to make others happy. This seems like a good way to live life, doesn't it? Helping others at every opportunity, brining joy to the world... But while this is a noble goal, it calls into question the purpose of mankind as whole. If we exist to help each other, do we exist to further the existence of mankind? Yet again, that brings us back to the aimless pattern of the circle. Staying alive simply to stay alive. No purpose, only primal instinct to not die out as a species.

A similar theory, but one that applies on a broader scale, is that we are alive to help the planet as a whole. Helping humans, yes, but helping other animals and nature as well. It is true, we can certainly help prevent some species from dying out. Undoubtedly, there is work we can do to improve the cleanliness of the environment. But first we must consider: the planet existed for billions of years before mankind even existed, and it seemed to get along just fine without our aid. Not only is the planet fine without us; it is better without us. Humans have hurt the earth's ecosystems more than any other living thing. Compared to all the harm we've caused the environment, our supposed 'help' is next to nothing. Many of the species we strive to save from extinction are only in danger of extinction because of our own actions. While it is a distinct possibility that we exist solely to help the world, we have caused enough damage to prove that this theory is somewhat questionable.

So, evidently, there are many different theories on what the meaning of life is. But which answer is the correct answer? Truthfully, I don't know. No one does, and anyone who claims to know the precise meaning of life is a fraud. It is my belief that everyone must uncover the meaning of life on their own. There isn't one simple answer. The meaning of life isn't some generic, one-size-fits-most explanation that anyone can buy for a few dollars at the local Walmart. Neither is it an answer of the pop quiz variety, the kind that can be looked up using the infinitely helpful Google and jotted down in a matter of seconds. Really, there is one definite reason for this: there isn't one explanation for why we exist. The reason for our existence is a mystery that must be discovered by the individual mind. Why? Because the answer is so strictly individual. Every person has a different purpose. Something that is perfect for him, something that gives him goals and determination. An answer to why he exists in this world. For some people, it's a job, some form of occupation that they believe is their life's work. Painting, writing, architecture, philosophy, science. Others find their purpose in devoting themselves to helping people who need food and shelter. Some believe their sole purpose is to find peace with nature or dedicate themselves to religion. No one can articulate precisely what the meaning of this short existence is, because there isn't just one answer.

From a purely cynical perspective, we don't have a purpose. We live merely because we choose to keep living. Nothing more. Going back to Doyle's words, life is a "circle of misery and violence and fear". Life must have a meaning, or it is entirely irrelevant, nothing but surviving so we can survive. There is no purpose at all. We waste our lives searching for an answer that simply isn't there, and we are only here to keep living so our species doesn't die out. But perhaps that theory doesn't encompass human nature. Perhaps the purpose of life lies in the very act of looking for a purpose. Isn't that human nature, after all? To strive for greatness, to be curious, to look for answers in the unlikeliest of places. Maybe the meaning of life is simple. The purpose of life is to find a purpose. When we find our passion, what we believe we are destined to do, we have found our purpose.

Though there are countless theories as to what the point of it all is, only one pervades every single one of the other answers. The purpose of life is finding a purpose. That is the meaning of the endless circle mankind is caught in. The meaning of life is to stop and think. Instead of appreciating shallow, temporary happiness, we must admit our ignorance. Cast away our blinders that warn us not to wonder, not to think. When we have done that, we can begin our search for purpose. It takes courage to question our very existence, bravery that we very often don't comprehend. After all, what requires more bravery than questioning why we even should bother living? And in that very act of accepting there is more to life than basking in our own ignorance and living another day, we find the meaning of life. The answer that eludes great minds across the world. In the end, we find the answer inside ourselves. Right where we always knew it would be, if only we had the courage to search for it.

Dear Callie,

You certainly know that there are long columns online about the meaning of life. Your writing resembles to them, yet it has a very unique form. Congratulations. I am glad that you took the time for the game though you are young. You have persistence, patience, you are precise and talented in searching and in methodizing. The latter is not too common nowadays. Facebook, Twitter and SMS sending may be useful, but their great disadvantage is that they limit communication. Lesser words lead to poorer vocabulary and shorter thoughts. That makes building up theories which contain related thoughts more difficult. Such theories are used by Sherlock Holmes, Jim Moriarty and a little earlier Albert Einstein had some too – and I use them as well. I ask you to treasure these fantastic abilities and choose a profession where you can use them, because the world will always need people like you. They will make excellent IPOD members – and thank you for already belonging to my club. Your registration made me happy. You know, the IPOD CLUB is a silent place, but I am not worried about you. Such a wise mind like yours knows when it is time for contemplation but never forgets the importance of communication.

I think so that you are doing very well at school. Do not let difficulties upset you, because the foundation of your mind palace is excellent. You will receive two keyrings, and the face of my brother will encourage you that you are on the right way.

Kind regards,
Mycroft Holmes

Sherlockian Holmesian


AGE: 13

In my perspective, the possible answer to the question, "...What is the meaning of it? What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end?" would be life. The object itself is not life though. For it is the meaning of it. "It" is death. Death is a gateway for life to begin again.Death is the cause of misery for the loss of a loved one. Death is the effect of violence when put on a person so much, it kills them. Finally, people fear death, we fear to lose, to miss, to hurt. But, the meaning for it is a way to more.

Dear Soph,

When starting the game I mentioned that this topic cannot be thoroughly discussed only in a few lines. Yet you did it. You are not a pleonastic, you spared your keyboard, you avoided evasion and proved that you are brave. You gave a short, deadly answer. It would be unfair not to appreciate this. I’m a politician and businessman, I often have to close negotiations very fast. You have the future businessman in yourself. You won a keyring. Of course I encourage you to dare to communicate, because it is an integral part in problem solving. You have clever thoughts, dare to show them to the world.

Kind regards,
Mycroft Holmes

Sherlockian Holmesian


AGE: 16

Mycroft Holmes,

This is an excellent question, due to the many possible ways of approaching it. In order to understand my answer, you must first understand my point of view. I for one believe that every person experiences their own circle of misery, and that their circle is linked with that of the people they interact with. So that when one circle of sadness ends, another begins. Take this as an example:

In The Adventure of The Cardboard Box, your brother, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, dealt with a never ending circle of misery. It first started off with the unhappiness of Miss Sarah Cushing, who was desperately jealous that her lover, Mr. Jim Browner, has moved on to loving and marrying her younger sister, Mary Cushing, or should I say Browner. She in turn tried to persuade her sister that Mr.Browner was an evil man, and one who could not be trusted. That was the beginning of his unhappiness, which grew into sheer rage when his wife began loving a friend of Sarah Cushing, Mr. Alec Fairbairn. The next to feel the surge of sorrow were the secret couple, Mary Browner and Alec Fairbairn. Their love was never meant to be, for in the midst of their boat ride on a lake, Jim Browner, out of what he felt as indignation and an uncontrollable temper, savagely murdered the two, and cut off their ears. These "tokens" were intended for Sarah Cushing who he blamed for the entire tragedy. She of course was very content with her doing, until she heard news of a little cardboard box containing severed ears that had mistakenly been sent to her sister, Miss Susan Cushing, who had no idea what it meant but upset her greatly. Miss Sarah Cushing immediately new the meaning of the parcel, which provoked her guilt so much so as to the point of brain fever. So you see, it was indeed a circle. It first started off with Sarah's jealousy and unhappiness, and ended off with her guilt and unhappiness.

But their is another link that has not yet occurred, but undoubtedly will. That is the sadness of Susan Cushing when she finds out about the death of her sister. That will lead to yet another circle of unhappiness. But, even that will eventually fade, most likely with her passing.

So you see, in essence, Sherlock Holmes was questioning death. Death is the beginning of all misery and violence, and death will be the end of it. Whether it be a metaphorical death, as in this case was the "death" of Sarah Cushing's love, which caused the circle of sorrow, or if it be a physical death as in that of Mary Cushing and Alec Fairbairn, and even possibly the death of Susan and Sarah Cushing, which would end that particular circle. But of course the death of those two women may cause another chain of gloom to form for some other people. Theoretically speaking, sadness will never cease until the last person on earth is gone. Our universe is not ruled by chance. There will always be a cause and effect. And the underlying facts are that death will be the cause, and it will also be the end.

Yours truly, Samira A.

Dear Suesue,

It is a joy for me to see that there are still young people who use netiquette. It is true that the Internet is a virtual world, but we must never forget that it is made by people for people. Greeting others is a well-mannered thing, it is the sign of respect. It helps to start a conversation in a better mood. Greeting is a basic rule in my IPOD CLUB, and even my brother Sherlock tries to observe it.

You observed the importance of timing, when Sherlock raised the question. You would make a good detective, because antecesents are always significant. Thank you very much for keeping an eye on this detail. Your answer is outstanding. You won a keyring and a bookmark. I wish you successful investigation – the world is full of great mysteries.

Kind regards,
Mycroft Holmes

Dear Players,

Mycroft Holmes gives an extra gift for those answers that are especially close to his heart. This extra gift is a cross-stitched Sherlock bookmark.

Others can choose from our free downloadable bookmarks here:
Free download - CBS Elementary and BBC Sherlock Bookmarks

Kind regards,

Sherlockian Holmesian

NICKNAME: tarotiste

AGE: 49

I'm a bit older than the other people I noticed that answered. (49) I've had reason to sit and ponder "What is the purpose to the circle of misery and violence and fear." In between Series 2 and 3, we know Sherlock pursued Moriarty's network. It cannot have been easy--we saw him beaten once, it probably wasn't the only time. His life was also greatly changed when he returned. Even though he had truly done what he had done for a good reason, due to his subterfuge. We see that he has learned a great deal from the man we met in Series one--the "Great Man" that Lestrade spoke of has indeed become a "Good man" willing to give up whatever he must for his best friend's happiness. Of course, it is *Sherlock* so he does that in unconventional ways, and his thought processes are so convoluted that John really wouldn't figure out how much he truly cares about him, but it's obvious to the TV viewer that he cares... by the end of the Series he had essentially given up "The Work", and his life for John... before that last minute reprieve. Now, hopefully, John will realize this in Series 4?

Personally, I have been through quite a bit and seen people deal with pain, suffering and fear either very well or, very badly... and I have come to the conclusion that meaning is brought to that suffering or fear by other humans and how they deal with the situation-- with empathy. I believe that *we*, must bring a reason to that suffering... by giving a purpose and meaning to all we have been through.

I watched my father die of four system failure in the intensive care unit over 12 days while on Emergency leave... his heart, kidneys, liver and circulatory system simply began to shut down, and because the medications needed for the different organs conflicted and caused side effects he was far too sick to save. It was horrible. About two years later I realized that he must have been hiding my mother's dementia from my sister and I, because suddenly she was extremely confused-- far too quickly. I had to take leave, help her pack out her house--which turned out to be full of dog pee (which when I was growing up was spotless) and bring her home to care for her until she died of Alzheimer's disease a few years later. (Actually pneumonia, it's just another dreadful thing to watch. Most Alzheimer's patients eventually forget how to swallow properly and aspirate their own saliva which then gets infected...)

*While* my mother was ill, I got pregnant --which I wasn't really planning on-- but that was ok, we were happy about the baby. She was very welcome. Life was stressful, but new babies are the most beautiful, soft and cuddly things... (they do cry loudly though... lol.) ...but they also smell great after a bath.

Anyway, I thought at that point I had reached the height of "hard times". I knew my mom would die soon, I'd lost my father who I adored, but I had a new baby... and I loved my job so there were good points to life... things were carrying on okay and I thought I would be able to get on with life... and then the bottom fell out of my world.

I don't know if you've heard of "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome", (SIDS) ... You're Mycroft Holmes, so I assume you have. Then you know they don't know why the babies die. There is no reason. She was put to bed after nursing, my husband went to check her ... couldn't rouse her .... called an ambulance and began CPR. According to the Paramedics the got a heartbeat back once, so she had to have been found right away because if not, there are clots in the arteries and the heart couldn't have started to beat again... anyway. I digress. (But that was very consoling to us at the time--despite the fact that even though they did get it back, she failed and died. At least we knew there was nothing we could have done.)

There was so much about this incident that was full of pain, horror, loss, and complete powerlessness. When I got to the ER, I asked the Nurse when I heard what had happened, could they at least donate her organs. Because while we had lost a COMPLETELY healthy child, there are SO many healthy children dying for lack of organs out there every day... they refused. I don't really know why. There wasn't a mark on her, her blood work was completely clean. To this day I don't understand that one--unless that hospital was just not equipped to do transplant donations? I don't know. Seems impossible to me, but what do I know. It would have been a solace to know that somewhere out there children lived because of her, that would have died otherwise.

After my daughter passed, the Master Chief of my Command (the highest ranking Enlisted person) arranged with the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer to shut down the Command so everyone could go to her memorial. He also organized a group of people of my rank to bring meals for a short time to help out. His thoughtfulness during that time taught me so incredibly much...

(I was a mess then, by the way, this was 13 years ago. It took years to process this.)
I now believe that we are supposed to use what we learn from our pain. I believe we have to, or it is in vain. Whenever I know that a friend's child has died, and I go to talk to them and ask them if they'd like to talk about their child... and I see their face ... because people are incredibly hesitant to bring up a dead child after they have died, especially to the parent. But do you know what? They really do want to talk about them! In a respectful way, of course. In a loving way. To this day when someone asks me how many children I have, I'm never sure what to say. Do I say 4? 3 and an angel? To pretend I never had her is to act like she wasn't real, which she definitely was.

I went to talk to a friend after his son had passed and asked if he wanted to talk about him, and we talked for a good hour or so. We compared notes about the horrible things people say at the funeral like "Oh, he's in a better place" ... No they aren't. We want them with US. One woman told me she knew exactly how I felt because her dog had died. I'm sure it was sad, but it's truly not the same to lose a beloved pet as a child.

After not really realizing I wanted a child to suddenly just... needing one... I got pregnant again almost right away. I had another daughter almost exactly a year later.

I was conflicted about the decision at the time, but I'm extremely glad I did it now. It was very healing for the family and my daughter is bright, intelligent, funny, (yes, a bit spoiled-but really can you blame us?) quite pretty, sweet and loving. She's good at sports, and at reading, knows Sherlock Holmes from Doctor Who and is into Competitive Swimming. (I've been quite lucky with all of my girls actually-- clever, pretty girls, all of them.)

If we don't live life, feel the bumps, bruises, pain, fear and depression... we can't help others. My job was as a Hospital Corpsman. I'm now working in a library. I still meet people who walk in and I can relate to their problems and sometimes assist them-- either because I know how to best get Veterans Benefits, or because I've had spinal surgery and I know how that feels ... OR sometimes it means not saying one word and just shutting up and letting the other person talk. Most of the time, it means giving our time, our empathy, enough information to let the person know we do understand ... then shut up and let them talk. I've found most people are lonely, and they would just love a chance to talk to someone for a little while... so I try to be that person... because in the circle of life, other people have been that person for me, many times. It's time I returned the favor.

Dear Tarotiste,

I see from your answer that you have a lot of experience and you took your time to think the question over. My sincere thanks for taking it seriously and finding time for such a detailed answer. I am especially thankful for your personal memories. You have to have trust for doing that. Please let me give some of my time and trust to you in return.

King Solomon was respected as a sage. He always wore a ring with the engraving „Nothing lasts forever.” When something happened to him, good or bad, the ring made him remember that everything is transitory. He knew all things will pass, so he could appreciate the good events. The engraving brought him solace when he experienced tragedies. Many misfortunes happened to you, but it does not mean that the sentence on Solomon’s ring can help you. People are different, and they have different reactions to the same things. Some find peace, some never attain it. Lots of people do not know what the meaning of life is, so every day is a misery for them. But some extraordinary people can achieve more. The American writer, Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf, yet extremely steadfast, knew this very well. She said: „Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” My opinion is that every outstanding man/woman begins with the fact that they survive day after day. They do not give up, maybe out of defiance, maybe out of necessity. They simply hold on. And as time passes, they find even more answers to the big questions through their experiences and thoughts. It is inspiring that you have the strength to care for your children and for other people too, despite the tragedies you had to endure.

I know history very well. There are countless examples of violence, but of the very opposite as well. I could set out many cases when a negative event gave someone self-respect and he became a philantropic, and numerous inventions owe their existence misfortunes. I know that there were people who were mistaken by the world and a tragic event proved their true values. Pain is a great teacher. We learn that it is an integral part of life, but we can do against it. It teaches us to think, to decide, to time, to cope with distress, to transvalue events, to get to know ourselves, others and our environment. Pain may kill relationships, but it may also create new ones. Trust and love can come into being under the most unfavourable circumstances. Pain changes the personality and the world. It helps see how beautiful, rare and fragile gift life is. We all can attain empathy through different means. „We are supposed to use what we learn from our pain” – you write. I quite agree. His Holiness the Dalai Lama told: „Wisdom is the theory of understanding reality, while compassion is its practice.”

Science is useful, but it still cannot explain a lot of things. History is about facts, and facts convince rational minds. Facts are the impressions of human fate, thoughts and deeds. I started this game because of my brother Sherlock. I know that he is unhappy and sometimes even cruel, but I think he can change. I believe in Sherlock Holmes. I do hope he will be a better man and he does not need to humiliate or kill others for that. I do hope that he can be humane and he can have a positive effect on others. Unfortunately our relationship is not good, but I try to change this. I have some influence on media, and my brother is the best detective of the world. That is why I chose to communicate through a small website run by Hungarians, to which true Sherlock Holmes fans can turn from all around the world. They have their own stories, their own thoughts. Sherlock always searches for the truth. And the truth is that his life is completely different now. Some years ago he was not world famous and he had no friends. Now there is dr. John Watson for him and he has countless fans. He has much more responsibility than before. I do hope that reading these answers he thinks over his actions again. I do believe your story gives him hope. Till our heart beats and we are able to think, we can stand up from the ground after every misfortune and try to do something against bad things. Because as Hungarian writer Géza Gárdonyi wrote: „The more developed a soul someone is, the less he seeks his own welfare at the expense of others.”

Dear Tarotiste, many thanks for your answer. Of course you won keyrings and a bookmark too.

Kind regards,
Mycroft Holmes

P.S. I think it is right to say that you have four children. According to religions no soul is lost, and physics says the same about energy.

(Common misbeliefs: Sherlock Holmes didn't believe in God)

Dear Players,

Mycroft Holmes gives an extra gift for those answers that are especially close to his heart. This extra gift is a cross-stitched Sherlock bookmark.

Others can choose from our free downloadable bookmarks here:
Free download - CBS Elementary and BBC Sherlock Bookmarks

Kind regards,

Sherlockian Holmesian

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