I don’t mean to be fatalistic, but it sometimes strikes me how impossible it all is.
I mean, really ALL of it.
If you take your eye off of the immediate goals, off of the very next items on the “to do” list, and stoop to take the long view of what’s really going on, it doesn’t take a super-genius to see that the odds against any of us having any chance at a pleasant future is electron-microscopic.
The game is so imbalanced, so daunting, so “whoa!”
Which game? Life on Earth!
Spinning out in the middle of a vast, cold universe, heading who knows where, with political strife, war, changing weather, every kind of violence and cruelty ever devised by the craven minds of men, floods, earthquakes, asteroid strikes…
Yikes, yikes and YIKES!
Happily, my own attention span is seldom wide enough to fully appreciate those grim and horrible odds. All I seem to be able to focus on is that next creative venture that I can bring about in the very near future. VERY near. Like, in the next few hours.
If “Thrills” and “Doom” are at opposite ends of a scale, then I seem to be magnetically attracted to the thrill of life, and tend to neglect the doom almost entirely. Miraculously, I wind up having had more thrill than doom most of the time.
Not being a stunt pilot, deep sea diver, astronaut or mountain climber like my friend Scott Parazynski*, the things that qualify as “Thrills” in my life tend to be rather quiet, and might even to another seem completely dull. Oh, well.
(I am cognizant that many people would rather strap themselves to a rocket than go onstage in front of people and try to do comedy.)
We create our lives out of our own concepts and expectations. You know this. We also create our own problems, although we choose not to recognize that fact, so tempting is it to believe that someone else is the real author of our troubles.
There’s really no profit in noticing how slim the odds are in the game of one’s life. Like a soldier on the battlefield who figures out that there’s no time to dodge a bullet anyway and just presses on doing whatever is necessary, we are all better off putting our attention on the goals we’ve chosen, and, if anything, push towards them a little more dedicatedly when the noise and the gunfire escalate.
That’s how I feel today, anyway. Ask me tomorrow if I’m more in touch with my own doom.
Thank you for reading this. Soldier on.
*Scott Parazynski is an accomplished doctor, explorer, mountaineer, astronaut and deep sea diver, among other accomplishments, and was John Glenn’s personal physician aboard the Space Shuttle. His book, The Sky Below, if you can stand to read it, is absolutely amazing. Highly recommended.