01 September 2011

Experiencing more

There is a place for idealism in my heart. It gets beat up by reality on a regular basis, but it lives on.
As I get a little older, sometimes the sobering thought that life is finite will settle in my mind for a short time. In the course of my life I will only meet a small fraction of the world’s people. But each person holds a lifetime of experience and dreams, failures and successes. What do I learn from each person? What do I contribute in return? In my short life, I will only read and ponder a tiny sampling of all the knowledge accumulated by thinking men and women throughout history. So thus I must choose my education and entertainment wisely. Is every day a lecture, every walk through nature an instructive reminder of silent ageless lessons? In my few decades, I will only visit a handful of fascinating and beautiful places built by human hands or nature’s laws. Therefore to be in more places I must imagine, I must look as carefully at the microscopic as I do at the majestic landscapes visible below a mountaintop. Do I see the beauty of where I am presently? In my transitory life, I will only sample a small percentage of the great wealth of human experience. Therefore, I must savor the good in each experience that I’m a part of. Am I grateful for the past, energetic in the present, optimistic about the future?
The body often limits us, but the mind seems capable of extending us. Antiquated human structures and age old patterns built on superstition also often tie us down, but creativity and knowledge can free us. Body and mind, reality and hope, the finite versus imagination … these are the twin voices of reality and idealism. We need them both I suppose. But in my idealistic musings, I like to think that you…me…all of us together, we visit more, we learn more, we experience more, and we connect more than each of us alone. Thus by our shared journeys we transcend the finite each of us is born into.

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