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Thoughts on a Saturday Afternoon

Updated on March 14, 2013

The writer at seventy-five.

This is page 1 of a five page essay written on 10th August 1996 when the writer was fifteen years younger.
This is page 1 of a five page essay written on 10th August 1996 when the writer was fifteen years younger.

Our inner life is so often dominated by a schism.

For many of us, our inner life is dominated by a schism: a division between seeking and accepting ‘what is.’ The seeking is to discover our destiny. “What is to be my avocation?” we say. “What is the meaning for my having been born?” And “How do I successfully manifest my avocation once found. The acceptance is knowing that the what is is as it should be. Do we carve out a life? Do we apply ourselves? Or do we go with the flow? This is the dichotomy.

Greece once had a mighty empire.

The designers, visionaries, leaders who built such monuments - what became of their ambitions?
The designers, visionaries, leaders who built such monuments - what became of their ambitions?

What should I do? What should I be?

The innate urge pricks. It pressures. It demands. It is nearly always there, if not at the forefront of our minds, then just below its surface. “Go do with your life great things! Rise to the heights! Aspire! “But aspire to what? Do what? Rise to what particular heights?

The urge to greatness seems to be always there.

A concrete solution acceptable to our inner selves is needed here. Sure, it’s okay to advance along paths which develop those ancillary skills which can better us; general skills. Ones which are useful no matter what field of endeavor we aspire to. These ancillary skills are useful, indeed essential to have, if one is to seek and reach real Greatness. For example, communicative skills, leadership skills, inter-personal skills, reasoning and creativity.

A King? Philosopher? Who is he?

A Greek from long ago.  Was he a great man.  Somebody probably thought so.
A Greek from long ago. Was he a great man. Somebody probably thought so.

Even more important are the qualities and values we develop.

Even more important than these are the qualities which we value most dearly. We need also to develop and build these in ourselves. For example: selflessness, wisdom, determination, fortitude, courage, persistence, patience and, most important, unconditional love.

Then there are our values. It is here that the questioning of ourselves becomes particularly pertinent. Is our ambition selfish? Is it honourable if we devote it to bettering the Common Weal? Is it neutral? Moreover, without ambition do we simply stagnate? Vegetate? Achieve nothing in the long (or short) rundown to our graves? Is this uneasiness which manifests as desire-to-achieve, heaven sent to the human species alone?


Turkey?  yes. but the building looks very Roman.   Even empires which last a thousand years come to an end.
Turkey? yes. but the building looks very Roman. Even empires which last a thousand years come to an end.

What makes for greatness?

It seems it is. We challenge our imaginations to come up with creative ideas which, when received, we can use to invent, innovate, fabricate, build, turn into concrete goods and services to help or hinder our fellows. It is this desire which moves us to action. It is this, with its accompanying traits of adaptability, etc. which makes the human species so unique.


Where would we be if we didn't have this urge?

Where would we all be if we all sat contentedly in the sun and treated ourselves the way a spoiled domestic cat would act? There’d be little production. No one would do anything beyond one’s own very personal needs. The world would quickly run down as far as we homo sapiens are concerned. The rest of Nature would probably applaud. We wouldn’t.

One of the world's great buildings still intact today.  The great mosque in Instandbul.
One of the world's great buildings still intact today. The great mosque in Instandbul.

Perhaps it s because of this, that Infinite Intelligence, through Nature, has built into we humans an urge which can never be denied indefinitely. We might get some respite. But it always returns. Has Infinite Intelligence planned -by way of Evolution- this urge for every type of creature primitive or advanced? Do we have a choice? Do dolphins experience this? Or ants? Or it it only we human beings? And will we ever know the answer?

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  • Paradise7 profile image

    Paradise7 

    6 years ago from Upstate New York

    This is a truly interesting hub. I'll be pondering these questions for quite some time, and seeking the answers that apply to me, personally... thank you for a very thought-provoking hub. It came in a timely fashion to me.

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