With so much dissonance, discord, dishegience and mental health challenges permeating the early days of a still nascent 21st Century, we seem to have lost sight of any meaning, purpose or zest for living. Some of this comes from a diminished need to fight for mere survival. And, of course, there’s no need or yearning to fight for KNOWLEDGE, ‘cause it’s already all over the internet – and on social media!
So, the main things we find ourselves “fighting for” are elusive “identity” and “unhinged liberation” from competing tribes and gummint over-reach. As a result, so many of life’s possibilities are utterly being wasted when opportunities for the full realization of human potential and an esteemed place in the universe have never been more promising.
I’d like to think we can do better than that! ASPIRE HIGHER!
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The larger point of “being human” is not to see how deeply we can immerse ourselves in Ding Dongs, Jelly Beans, deep-fried ice cream, social media, video games and virtual reality – and it’s not merely to perpetuate the species. And it’s not to see who can get the most toys or beat the tar out of the competition. [Full disclosure: Superbowl LVII is only days away and I plan to watch at least part of it!]
No matter how “Good” or “Special” or “Lucky” we think we are, we’re not going to “Win them all”. [Anyone playing the billion dollar lottery?] Yet life has to go on. The questions are: “How?” and “Why?”
In the mundane, unpressured and unperturbed moment, most of us will simply default to looking for more immediately gratifying, tried and true, sure-fire wins. Like Ding Dongs, Jelly Beans, etc., or worse … drugs, alcohol, guns, alt-reality and propagation of misinformation. Taking the easy path, following the glitz and glimmer, picking the low hanging fruit and bullying those more vulnerable and less fortunate in order to puff ourselves UP are embarrassingly addictive … but embarrassingly degenerative and irrevocably costly.
“Mental Health” does not travel in such company!
Whatever happened to ASPIRATION, WONDER, CREATIVITY / INNOVATION and “BECOMING ALL YOU CAN BE”?
Yes, we’re made to FIGHT! But how about fighting POVERTY/DEPRIVATION, IGNORANCE, INCOMPETENCE, ILLNESS, HUNGER, HOMELESSNESS, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, CLIMATE CHANGE … all the things that destroy hope for sustainability and positive outcomes?
“Higher Calling” engagement surely isn’t easy, but it’s certainly – underline certainly – more rewarding.
Consider: BUILDING, BUILDING BETTER / MORE USEFUL / MORE ENLIFENING stuff, striving for MASTERY, striving for DIGNITY, seeing MAJESTY in simple things, seeing MAJESTY in complex things, seeing MAJESTY in CRAFTSMANSHIP, seeing MAJESTY in both the details and expanse of CREATION [or evolution, if you prefer], helping NATURE THRIVE and look her best, discovering the multiple dimensions of TRUTH and BEAUTY … the multiple dimensions of MUSIC … HISTORY … CULTURE … GEOGRAPHY … SPACE … the UNIVERSE …
Finally, how about NOBLE ENDEAVORS?
“To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go;
To right the unrightable wrong.
And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable stars!”
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[Man of La Mancha,
music by Mitch Leigh, and lyrics by Joe Darion.
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NOTE: Even without tangible rewards, an incomparable sense of fulfillment can still be gained in such NOBLE PURSUITS:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
From “Citizenship in a Republic” by Theodore Roosevelt https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/man-in-the-arena.html
See also the poem “Compensation” by Theodosia Garrison https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/compensation-36
“Life in the under-developed outback of life can be awfully lonely in striving to rise. But it’s not abjectly so if you carry a BIG ENOUGH DREAM, such that, in the toughest times, your DREAM can carry you onward.” Quartermaster