There is value in observing and studying the faults and wayward ways of ourselves and others. Our errors and missteps cast shadows upon the many muddy paths we have trodden and help expose alternate footpaths forward in our pursuit of virtue and incremental self-betterment.
Critical thinking has utility only when it leads to perfecting or improving our situation or the situations of others. We should offer no complaint without also proposing a solution; or at least helping to think productively towards one. Similarly, if we complain but reject any proposed resolutions offered to us, then we will eventually be tuned out by others as just another noisy part of their day.
There is an unfortunate multitude of ready answers available for life’s toughest questions. We must be skeptical of any easy answer to a difficult question. We should begin by rejecting simple and familiar answers, plummet headlong into the painful sting of ignorance, and hope to begin to string together bits of disparate intelligence that might one day approximate the truth.
Substantive life change requires a combination of deconstruction and sacrifice. We must deconstruct and set aside the building blocks of our current self in order to erect a new and stronger version of ourselves. Like a farmer rotating the crops, we must also be willing to sacrifice the fruits that are produced by the toil of prior years and begin the honest labor necessary to produce new and different provisions that will nourish us for the seasons to come.
It is easy to be brilliant if you don’t believe in anything (paraphrasing Goethe). A defining theme of our current culture is the art of tearing down; disassembling political structures, ideologies, religious doctrines, and social models. We have identified legitimate maladies in our social order and have concluded that it would be better to kill the patient and ourselves rather that skillfully treat our varied disorders. Still worse, many have chosen to sit bedside and complain about the patient’s incessant coughing and sputtering and do nothing to hasten or arrest the underlying ailment.
We have thrown out and obliterated so many constructs that we have begun to believe that this process in itself will yield some sort of nihilistic enlightenment and social progress will magically fill the gaping void we are fashioning for ourselves.
I believe the next cultural and intellectual renaissance will see a rebuilding of ideas, a reimagining of structures, and a rediscovery of virtue and its personal and societal utility. Some generation will decide to harness their creative energies, gather courage, embrace the spirit of entrepreneurism that understands that we must try and fail in order to succeed, that understands that identifying a flawed ideal or implementation is only the first wave in ushering in a sea change of progress.
Believing in nothing will yield nothing. We must roll up our sleeves and put in the labor necessary to reimagine and adopt new personal and social philosophies founded upon the constants of truth and virtue.
We work exhaustively to capture material winnings; money, goods, and trophies become the ends that justify all means. We fail to recognize that each acquisition is a patch of netting, stitched together day by day, that ultimately traps and imprisons us, leaving us ensnarled in old age in a web of our own unwitting design.
There is a moment—Oh, just before the first kiss, a whispered word—something that makes it worth while.
The body and its intricate machinery serves us loyally day and night, converting food to energy, respiration to oxygen for the blood, fending off bacteria, and removing the many waste products we create and intentionally ingest. In sickness or injury it succumbs to these trials temporarily or perhaps permanently. However, like the loyal employee who has dedicated a career to a single company, is it right for us to reproach the body the moment it has an isolated lapse in function? Like a thankless employer who has ill-treated the workers for their own gain, we too often berate and abandon the body when we should instead be thankful for its service and reward the body with proper care and maintenance henceforth.
I never do anything half hearted. Always try to devote your time on the one that you are brave enough to fight for!
And people are traveling the world the way I wander across my mind and its corners are all I ever know.