It would be fair to say that until very recently, in terms of world history, life was relatively simple. My path forward at birth was, virtually, predetermined. If my father were of the working class, I usually found employment in some aspect of the industrial sector.
If he were a bureaucrat or functionary, I leaned that way. This was arguably true of the doctor or the professor. We knew that other possibilities existed, but the societal change would only occur sometime later through a combination of education, hard work, and a certain modicum of good luck.
The great attraction of societies like the United States, Canada, Australia, etc., was that you were not prejudged. You could make your own way. My maternal grandparents were landless Eastern European peasants who came to Canada, purchased raw land, and found prosperity in their newly adopted home.
The adjustments my relations experienced, however, pale in comparison to the revolutionary changes we are now seeing. The Internet Age has galvanized mankind in ways never documented before. You can, quite literally, place yourself in front of a computer screen and with some marketable antics or qualities, depending on public opinion, become a superstar — rich and free.
This has produced a mixed blessing, unfortunately. Modern renown, as with all fame, historically, is infused with at least two of the big five addictions (alcohol, drugs, sex, money, and power). The latter two are most prevalent in today’s world. This kind of success should be simply blended into the American dream, one would think. “Poor boy leaves home and makes it big in Hollywood,” this kind of idea.
But no, the standards are so high and the entrance fee so excessive that many young people, in particular, are afraid to begin the journey. They remain closeted in their safety cocoon, either living at home or continuing on with an advanced degree.
It is not hard to see why. Elon Musk’s fortune grows at an astronomical 16.8 billion dollars a year, according to one estimate. (1) This certainly humbles the plea, “Study hard, get into a good school, find a great job and you will become financially successful.”
Therefore, many young and not-so-young people are opting out of this economic madness and predicating their lives on different values. These are the principles that they develop themselves with their own standard of what prosperity means; “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal,” to quote Earl Nightingale. (2) This is perhaps the way most thoughtful people will, ultimately, find their path forward.
The great Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, leaves us with a thought: The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacles to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. (3)
A closing thought: All of us upon reaching consciousness at 20 or so must decide what kind of life we want to live. Our path forward can only be achieved through commitment and plain old-fashioned effort, but it is there, at least in its circuitous form. We must nonetheless remember that no matter how badly we feel, how fatigued we are, we must get up, dress up, and show up to attain our goals.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about our path forward in life.
To be noted: From Friedrich Nietzsche — He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
Just for fun:
This week, on your thoughtful walk, please reflect on what travel has meant to your life.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave –critical thinking is great!
Quote: Live your life in a state of wonder and imagination.ry