The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. — Marcel Proust
I would simply add that, sometimes, new landscapes enable seeing with new perspectives.
I cannot state emphatically enough how living, or rather making a living, in this country tires me. It is so easy to slip into blind consumerism. It’s convenient and for a very brief moment, while you sip your Starbucks Whipped Frappuccino® (the fact that it is registered as a trademark should tell you enough), you fill satisfied. Everything is right with the universe. God loves you. You are bathed in satisfaction and happiness.
Then the slurping and sucking sounds the end of it. You pull out on the highway and you are in the mad race to convert some of your life into an exchangeable currency so you can do it all again tomorrow.
As I think about sailing off to new countries, my true fears are not at all what others ask me about. I’m not scared of sailing or being alone or running aground or hitting a container at sea. Don’t misunderstand. I have a very healthy respect for all those things. But, they are not what worry or scare me. I worry about NOT finding peace. I worry that no matter where I go, I will find America. I will find the gross capitalism greedily, corpulently, and silently taking over the soul of the human race and destroying nature in the process. I know there are places where it has not happened . . . yet. It hasn’t become convenient enough. But, how far must I go to escape it?
The world is indeed a very small place.
And at the same time, I ask myself, must I go somewhere else to escape it? Why not just be right here and create meaning within it without meaningful participating in it?
Excellent question. I have no equally excellent answer other than I feel compelled to take a journey, to push myself beyond it all, leave it far behind, and then . . . maybe . . . return. Not when things have changed, but when I have.
To desire nothing beyond what you have is surely happiness. Aboard a boat, it is frequently possible to achieve just that. That is why sailing is a way of life, one of the finest of lives. — Carleton Mitchell
I hear quite often, and I have even said it myself, “If I just had enough money that I didn’t have to worry about it, then I’d be happy.” Enough. What is that?
The one that said it probably has enough if she’d (Well, you can’t use ‘he’ as a gender in-specific pronoun anymore. I got lambasted my freshmen year in college over that. By a feminist no less. It disgusted me so much I decided writing wasn’t for me any longer if the “rules” were no longer about writing, but now involved politics. They still are, but I now have the age and wisdom to say “To hell with YOUR rules. This is my writing, and I’ll write as I see fit. And you can either read it or not. That’s YOUR choice.” Sorry Roger, I’m going with “fine art” here. I’m tired of “commercial art”.) . . . where were we? . . . Ah, yes . . . we’d probably have enough if we made what we had be enough.
Jodi and I have watched a couple of movies recently about God. Yes, the Christian God. Or at least the American Christian God. Plot synopsis: materialistic Christian with everything they should want suffers a crisis of faith when they suddenly lose, or are threatened with the loss of, a close loved one and wonder why, if God loves everyone, He allows pain and suffering.
The surest sign for me that there is a God is that there IS pain and suffering. I realize this sounds ridiculous. But, stick with me.
We’re sold on the belief that Heaven is perfect: no pain, no suffering, no longing.
What if everyone lived forever? There was no sickness. Everyone had perfect health. There was no pain. We had every . . . single . . . possible . . . conceivable thing we could ever want. We had unlimited energy. We had it all. I mean everything. Ferraris, endless money, teleporation, any food desired, any relationship lusted for. Everything and anything. Where would the meaning be in that life? If we had everything and anything and everyone and anyone that our hearts desired, where is the love? Where is the thing that gives our lives meaning? The sacrifice?
I read somewhere that the reason God created the universe and man was because Heaven was perfect and there was no “meaning”. He wanted to experience a meaningful existence and does that through us.
Perhaps because poverty strips people of happiness in the short term, it forces them to take the long view—to focus on the relationships they have with their children, their gods, and their friends, which become more meaningful over time. —Adam Alter
I’ve run 3 marathons. The first one is forever etched in my memory. The last half of that 26 miles was so painful, unbelievably painful, that there is no way I’ll ever be able to forget it. Every single step of the last 13 miles was the equivalent of having a railroad spike driven under and into my right knee. And because of that pain, my gait changed and some cramping set in. I’ve no doubt that it could have been more painful. I’m sure there have been people that have run marathons with broken legs. But, my experience is what made it special for me. I finished only 30 minutes slower than my goal. It took over 6 months to recover. It was the pain that made it an act of endurance. Some would call me stupid or insane or, at the very least, mentally abnormal. Maybe so. But, if climbing Mount Everest was easy, it would mean nothing. If childbirth, and the subsequent childrearing, was pain free, where would the love, sacrifice, and meaning be?
Why climb Mount Everest? Why have children? Why run a marathon? Why sail across the ocean? I’m not in search of happiness; that can be found at your local Starbucks.
I’m on a voyage of meaning, if that even makes sense.
And Starbucks doesn’t sell that.