Søren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”
How can we turn a vague longing for renewal into a specific vision of a new way forward?
It is not an easy thing to be reborn. The problem, as Marshall McLuhan said, is “we drive into the future using only our rearview mirror.”
“Life can only be understood backwards , but it must be lived forwards.” —Søren Kierkegaard
It becomes more comfortable to repeat the familiar patterns than explore new ones. We stay close to the enclosed settlement; tread the same old paths.
The age of discovery is over. I know myself. I know my spouse. I know my virtues and vices. I know my place in the world. It is all very predictable. Been there. Done that.
We clone our egos rather than risk metamorphosis.
But what about that voice that seems to be calling to you from somewhere beyond the familiar?
The scent of something wild and new beyond the valley in which you dwell. Some unexplored mystery. Some promise still unkept. Some longing unfulfilled.
We human beings are strange animals. We are blinded by our narrow ideas of ourselves from the vastness of our potential. We self-censor. That we are conscious yet remain unconscious of vast regions of ourselves is one of the strangest facts about us.
We are the self-deceiving animal. Both the hidden and the hider.
Who keeps my self-knowledge from me? And, why? How can I spy on my secret self? How can I catch a glimpse of the surprising future that awaits me if I have the courage to leave the familiar behind and embark on the journey into the unknown? Where is the hidden door? The path long hidden through the deep forest.
I offer no grand schemes to fix the world. Rather, I suggest there are ways each of us may discover a vocation and to live creatively in a broken world, without merely retreating to a private garden or attending only to personal growth and happiness. Be in it for the long adventure—one that lasts a lifetime.
Copyright © Sam Keen. Reprinted with permission.