Carousel Of Life
Life Is Like Riding In A Carousel
Living is like riding the carousel. That is why I call it the "carousel of life". I am sure everyone of you remembers some experiences in riding the carousel, during some time in your life. What did you experience when riding the carousel? The most evident experience of riding the carousel was the whirling "round and round" while you looked out the surroundings as if they were moving backwards. Then you waved to your mom each round you passed by her. The other thing was that you felt the pleasure and excitement when the "horse" you were sitting went up and down, continuously. And of course. the familiar "circus" musical accompaniment to make your ride of joy a memorable one. That is why all of us will never forget this ride of joy, during many times of our lives. Never for one moment that this carousel ride will one day remind you of the realities of life. In fact, not many will compare this ride in a carousel with the realities of life. Anyway, let me share with you, the saga of the "carousel of life".
The Saga Of The Carousel Of Life
Have you heard of or watched the animated film called "Everybody Rides The Carousel"? It is about the theory of the psychological development of human beings, propounded by the German-born American development psychologist and psychoanalyst, Erik Homburger Erikson (15 June 1902 – 12 May 1994). The theory describes the eight stages of a person's life from infant to old age. In each stage, the person is confronted with new challenges, and if this person successfully completed these challenges, he or she will progress to the next stage of life building on the previous successes. However, the challenges that this person failed to fulfilled, will reappear as problems in future stages of his or her life. By the way, Erikson also coined the popular phrase “identity crisis”.
What about our old friend, Shakespeare's quotation "all the world's a stage" from "As You Like It"? Here Shakespeare compared the world to a stage and life to a play in seven stages from infant to old age.
Erikson analyzed human behavior in eight stages and the person's ability to pass the challenges in life to successfully progress to the next stage. Shakespeare merely described the challenges of life in each stage of life. Anyone who has lived through life as long as I have, will naturally understand the logical events that a person goes through life in different stages. However, there is another dimension prevailing over all the stages in life; always hovering around us awaiting to strike in surprise. This is the dimension that I wish to share my observation of the carousel of life.
Let us observe the movements of the carousel, and relate these activities with the realities of living life. The carousel does not discriminate its occupants, be they whites, blacks or in-betweens; be they young or old; males or females; rich or poor; or what they believe for that matter. Every occupant rider is treated as equal. Life is like that. The world doesn't discriminate, nature doesn't discriminate. It is the deluded human mind that discriminates. Every rider in the carousel is given equal opportunity to observe and enjoy the joy of riding. And no one is given priority nor special position, for the carousel is circular.
When the carousel starts to move, there are two distinct movements, operating simultaneously. One is the whirling merry-go-round, typical of the carousel. The other is the individual seats that move up and down on the vertical poles. Our lives seem to go round and round in unending circles, with the good times as well as the bad ones. The ups and downs of existence, keep on repeating themselves just like the movements of the carousel. Is this what life is all about? I guess so. Now let us add another dimension to this carousel of life.
Imagine The Different Sceneries Around The Carousel
Let us add another dimension to this carousel of life. The dimension of the different sceneries as the carousel whirls round and round. Sceneries of different facets of beauty, of happiness, of peace; and different facets of ugliness, of sadness, and of suffering. Assuming there are paths leading to these individual facets of scenery. There is no escape for us, once we are in the carousel as it starts to move. At any time the carousel will stop, and each of us is forced to alight and walk down the path to whichever facet of scenery we are faced with, to experience what it has to offer us. No matter whether you are up or down the pole, you are forced to walk down the path once the carousel stops. After spending a period there, we are allowed to return to our seats and ride the carousel of life again. Then the “merry-go-round” repeats itself until it stops for us to alight again, either to confront with, or to submit to, or to indulge on, whatever that is in front of us.
Our real lives are similar to the riding of this carousel of live. All of us experience joy and happiness at some times of our lives; but we also experience sadness and disappointment at other times. The more fortunate will enjoy more, while the less fortunate will suffer more. And the most unfortunate will go through the horrors of living most of the time. Even when you are high up on the pole ride, enjoying life, the carousel may suddenly stop you in front of a horrible scenery. While at times, when you are at your lowest point in your ride, the carousel may present you with a surprisingly, wonderful scenery, walking down the path of pleasure and laughter! Life is indeed very unpredictable. Life surprises you just like when the carousel stops. Don’t feel high and mighty while you are riding high on the horses, for the carousel of life may throw you off guard to face the scenery of doom! Likewise, when you are feeling down and out, don't despair, for the carousel of life may deliver you a surprise with the gateway to great happiness. Whatever the consequences, you will return to ride the carousel of life, until your last day.
Beware, the Carousel Of Life! Be very aware!
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Erik Erikson's Stages Of Development
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