OK, first I feel like I need to apologize for how long I’ve been silent on this blog. Life really moves at a breakneck pace and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
I’ve been thinking through the philosophical debate on journeys recently. For those new to this idea it is a question of is the end of the journey the important part or is the journey itself important. I stand firmly in the realm of the middle ground on this. If the end did not matter why would we have taken the journey at all? So, the end must have some meaning. When viewing the most famous quote on journeys by Lao Tzu
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
We see also a paradigm where the step itself has meaning. If the step did not have meaning we would not worry about the single step but worry about the strength it takes to make such a great journey. (Interestingly this phrase does refer to the strength it takes to make a journey, it takes the same amount of strength as it takes to make a single step.) Our goals on a journey should be to make each step, each moment, each lesson as important as the goal we shall reach at the end. Otherwise the importance of the journey is lost and we lessen the importance of the destination.
If you are equating the journey to the journey of life what would the importance of the events in an average person’s life be? The end destination is the same for everyone. There is no way around it, and would it not be simpler if this end destination was a lot closer to the start? If we view life in the way some do with no importance other than the importance of life itself what are the importance of the events? In my view, the importance of the events are for who they make us when we get to the end. What person will you be at the end of your life? Who will you have grown into? What will you have become due to the shape of your choices?
If there is nothing after death. If we die and simply cease to exist as some think, then there is no importance to the events. The importance is to perpetuate something which is simply vastly negative on the outset. Is this fallen horrible world, full of atrocities, really the best thing we can hope for? I sure hope not.
To get back on topic, however, if we believe there is something after death, even the most mundane life has a huge amount of importance. We cannot escape the importance. We’re here to learn, live, and grow. If we neglect any of this we will be lost in the mire of ineptitude which blinds so many people. (I personally call these people the “I want to be great” people.)
If we get lost in this quicksand we will come to the end of our lives and look back and think to ourselves what did I do? What did I accomplish? Instead of seeing the lessons for what they are, seeing the growth for what it is, and seeing ourselves for who we have become. This is the important lesson to take away from the journey. I could spend my life trying to make millions of dollars, and be unhappy every second of it. I could spend my life trying to be famous and be angry every second of it.
The importance is not in what we accomplish but how we accomplish it. The importance then is not simply in the destination but how we come to the destination. If I focus merely on the ends and use them to justify the means I can do anything I want but will it be worth it? If I use the means to justify the end, however, what I do every day will become worth it as they spur me on the road to making it to the final destination. I can look forward to the destination while also enjoying the little things which transpire between now and then.
This end could be anything. I used life as my example just for ease of relation. Everyone can relate to the idea of wanting to make their life important. Other topics may not have been relatable for one person or another. Apply the lesson to any journey you’re on. For me, writing and finishing projects, whether fiction or not is a journey I am on. I follow the journey step by step and enjoy what is happening along the way (I have to admit, there are times I do not enjoy the journey) but the finished story being the goal is a major enjoyable moment in life. The lessons learned along the way however shape me into who I am and I would not give those up for anything.
Good luck to you on your journey(s).
From my sojourning in Oregon,