Right now many are plunged into defending what they never imagined needed defending. They thought things were progressing slowly forward; suddenly the ground is ripped out from under them.  The hope is that somehow the world might get back on track, that is, the same track as before. That would mean this period of time is a total loss, a waste of time, a setback; the status quo might never be restored. The situation seems absolutely negative and destructive. Without glossing over the suffering coming down the pike, can we a imagine a future from which we look back and see that this situation has instead been positive?

This introduces the basic question I want to ask: how do we come to fundamentally new ways of thinking? How do we become frustrated on a deep level with the limitations of our thought patterns, our explanations and automatic behavior and responses? Why would we even allow frustration to enter without knowing there is a satisfying escape from it? Why, if human existence is the search for security and satisfaction, would humans disrupt their stability, which they can plainly see will plunge them into suffering? That suffering is not just internal conflict but isolation from others. You see a problem, a flaw in your thinking you share with others and you tell them about it. Those others might agree if pressed, but that makes them fear you and turn against you: “I don’t want to start down that road, I need the company of others. You must want to suffer, for peace of mind is easily available.” You say, “Bear with me” but to bear something is suffering. To undermine oneself, with no hope of overcoming the isolation, goes against the grain of the truism “man is a social being.”

Self-heroicizing, to see oneself as an avant-garde that will later be joined by the others, perhaps after one’s death, is the all-too-human consolation that might keep one going. Or rather it kept some going in the past but has run out of steam. It is the view from a non-existent future, and may even be correct, yet it is a diversion that cripples the movement of thought, which is only present. That is, thought is movement; I am convinced this moment of what did not yet convince me a moment before, yet I am somehow the same person. That is a mystery even though it obviously happens, or we might say, happens to us.

We can thoroughly enjoy the place where we stand only when we learn to dance on this shaky ground. Humans need solid ground, known as knowledge, that the herd will return each year, that planted seeds will grow, and that the concepts planted through media, social pressure, and education will yield stability and self-recognition from one day, one year, to the next. And yet, for some reason that need is not enough. Apparently there is some excitement to abandoning security and embracing where thought and intuition takes us, following a path without knowing where it leads. This is not without fear, but a fear that provokes laughter and more boldness. That is how we originate ourselves and originate the world—see it new, make it new. That is living, not surviving, and we are probably not the fittest! We are launched: “Look ma, no hands!” Some will caution: “How foolish, you’ll surely crash.” Well, that cow has already left the barn.

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