“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer”
The journey or the goal? This is the question that has bothered the greatest minds throughout human history. The lust for the goal that drives us but it is the journey that we fall in love with. This paradox is at the very heart of human nature, inseprable, like the two sides of a coin. What makes this paradox difficult, is the inevitability of sadness. If one succeeds in achieving the goal one lusts for there is, like Alexander, the sadness of losing the path. If one fails, it is the sadness of failure.
Philosophers through the ages have likened sadness to a true lover, never leaving her lovers side. So if the sadness is inevitable, why is it we keep on setting out on our journey to meet our goals. Perhaps, the answer to this question is Life. The goal gives us the purpose and the purpose drives life. Purpose is the food of life. Even the most primitive of world’s creatures have a purpose, to survive.
Being evolved creatures, humans strive for a higher sense of purpose. For some it may be monetary, for some sexual, for others emotional and for a few, selfless. Whatever the goal, it is the journey we love. Goal is an illusion for they are endless. We achieve one and we set for the next; for we lust for the journey, the goal is just an excuse.
Today I came across a question that forced me to think about it long and hard and I still have not found an answer to it. The topic of conversation with some colleagues was how children are so upbeat about the day when they wake up in the morning fresh and ready to live it as they desire.
During the conversation my friend suddenly asked the question, when does the change happen when you stop jumping out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm and optimism, genuinely looking forward to the day. That question for some reason stuck in my head. My mind took it even further by asking me WHY does it happen; because personally in this case why is more important than the when.
The challenge to finding an answer to this is that that ‘when’ happened such a long time ago that I will struggle to remember the ‘why’. Is the reason for this change a chemical change in your body or is it a state of mind that one enters which causes him to loose this happiness.
I think it is the state of mind that causes this change. When we are very young time is immaterial. A child will get up in the morning with all the time in the day to do all things his mind comes up with during that day. As you get a little older this luxury is taken away because of the child having to devote more time to certain obligations, for instance, starting nursery school. When the child commits some of his time everyday to obligatory duties I think that is the time waking up stops being so optimistic and energetic. The question here is, again, why. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the child is doing something it doesn’t want to do but I think its more of the element of being controlled by a timeline that comes with the territory.
So do you think that the mere realisation that there will be some parts of the day which we will have to spend doing something pre-prescribed (generally by someone else)? I have not found the answer within me, for this question. Can you?