Those who crawl the straight-razor’s edge between the ideal and harsh reality (a fine line because of the expedience of perception, certainly nothing based in the real world) know the bitterness of day-to-day despair and the joy of a stranger’s smile. That’s the way the mind and heart of the searcher negotiates the teeter-totter of life.
Whether that searcher is one born to the quest, having lived a life seeking hopeful equilibrium in the face of the hopelessness of cosmological unity or the newly initiated having stumbled upon or sought out further light and knowledge in a place unexpected or previously proscribed, the searcher is more often than not a person with economic and social difficulties. The Law of Conservation of Resources is a cruel taskmaster in a society like ours, especially cruel for the propaganda that says that we have a life of ease and relative leisure compared to that of our ancestors. The reality of our world is that of a body and psyche not changed much from those of our forefathers and mothers roving the prairies and tundras of the Pleistocene, competing with Sabrecats and Dire Wolves for Steppe Bison and ancient Caribou. Those psyches are being exploited today by enemies more cunning many times over than any competing apex predator species ever was, those working to market products and services or profit from human’s desire for power, security or status.
These needs, whether real or simply perceived as such, are in the same constant demand of attention and energy in our day as they ever were in the past. Maslow’s hierarchy demands that the lower needs are met before satisfying the next, and as ever, if any of the lower needs are threatened, the higher-ups get starved of attention or forgotten completely until stability down lower is restored.
Thus what Thoreau termed ‘The examined life’ becomes a luxury beyond the reach of the average Joe and Jane, and ‘a life of quiet desperation’ becomes the norm, even for those who seek something better and more beautiful.
More to come…
Divide and Conquer