Thursday, January 8, 2009

To be significant

This is a continuation of my original thought in my first post on here, about life being a book, and us scrambling around trying to be the hero, or antihero. The idea here is that so many people have this idea that the ultimate goal is to form some sort of legacy with the time we have. To be remembered is a universal desire, and so people all around the world try every day to make an impact.

True, the chief goal of each individual day might be survival for alot of people, but many people, especially in a society such as ours, where our basic survival needs are met much more readily, are trying to achieve the next step. To be significant.

And it's so easy to feel insignificant, just looking around at the world and trying to wrap one's head around the fact that there are literally billions of other people out there, just like you, can be discouraging. But each of those billions of people is constructing a legacy by simply being a decent human being to their friends, their family, their neighbors, and to strangers on the street they have nothing in common with. The good samaritan comes to mind.

This same desire to be significant, to be someone, ties back to the feelings of frustration that I mentioned in my post yesterday. There is nothing that makes one feel more insignificant than going to work and doing a job that has absolutely NO application to one's life. My favorite essay by Thoreau is titled "Life Without Principle", in which he urges his reader not to do a job that he isn't passionate about, surmising that selling your whole day away to someone else's ends, some great "industry", in order to put food on your table, is worse than starving. I would assert that doing your time in the dispassionate labor force in order to get yourself to a place where you can do what you love on a daily basis is an acceptable means to an end, though I agree with him that it seems a crime against oneself to embark on a career that doesn't inspire passion. The term "9 to 5" comes to mind.

With that in mind, I'm going to ride my bike to farmers market now, one of my favorite activities. The term "breath of fresh air" comes to mind.

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