What does this mean to you?

Consider the following:

“For, after all, you do grow up, you do outgrow your ideals, which turn to dust and ashes, which are shattered into fragments; and if you have no other life, you just have to build one up out of these fragments. And all the time your soul is craving and longing for something else. And in vain does the dreamer rummage about in his old dreams, raking them over as though they were a heap of cinders, looking in these cinders for some spark, however tiny, to fan it into a flame so as to warm his chilled blood by it and revive in it all that he held so dear before, all that touched his heart, that made his blood course through his veins, that drew tears from his eyes, and that so splendidly deceived him!”
– From White Nights: And Other StoriesFyodor Dostoyevsky

“I’m not ready to let the youthful part of myself go yet. If maturity means becoming a cynic, if you have to kill the part of yourself that is naive and romantic and idealistic – the part of you that you treasure most – to claim maturity, is it not better to die young but with your humanity intact?”
– From Emergency Sex: And Other Desperate Measures, Kenneth Cain

How true it is we think it works like this. The idealistic youth full of vigour soon to be bitterly depressed by the ways of the world. The key point being: the world is out to get you.

If there is one thing I will make a desperate, unreasonable effort to avoid my entire life, it is the thought that I was disillusioned in my youth – that the world is bad – and that’s just the way things are. Because it just can’t be true! A lot of sensible people will have you believe that this journey of life is a disheartening endeavour. They might claim this to be the real knowing: the cold, hard facts of whatever this is. And in amongst this slog, the trick is to find these fleeting moments of joy that will buoy your soul just that little bit longer until you die. But this is not the real knowing.

The real knowing, is knowing that this is not the real knowing – but this sort of wonderful act that the world puts on show for you[1]. The secret is that you knew the secret right from the beginning, but along the way you forgot. The real knowing was born out of a time when nothing was a big deal and everything was great – when you weren’t attached to your rationalisations about why things are the way they are – when grass grew just because…that’s what it does. Sure, it’s interesting to know that photosynthesis is the mechanism to make this happen. But all the while we learn about this, that grass is still growing! So the real knowing, the real deep-down insight, is that: everything just is. You can never account for every single wild dimension that makes something be what it is. You can try, but you can’t. So don’t bother. Even just to tease this point out in a different way, if it’s unclear: your interpretation of something is just a product of the informal social framework with which you are accustomed anyway, which is something totally not timeless or all-encompassing. So again, the key is: don’t get so tied up in wondering why.

Don’t wonder why we as human beings long to be connected – connected to others and to nature in this strange and deep metaphysical way. This – THIS – is the essence of our humanity. And it doesn’t have to dissolve in the face of moving-out and income tax. That stuff is jazz. It’s important insofar as it keeps you involved, because that’s just the way the world is working right now. But such concerns should never consume you. Such concerns should never take your attention away from the dance of the flower, laughter amongst friends or the touch of another. Because that’s the real stuff – the good stuff. That’s the in your soul can-you-feel-that real.

And don’t ask why. Just know.

So have fun. Don’t critique yourself too rigorously. Live big or live small – do whatever. The magical point is that everything is as it is and it doesn’t matter. The magical conclusion is that you have every reason to do what you love to do and be happy.

[1] It’s actually quite funny when you think about it. Wow – didn’t it have us going for a while there!


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