Wednesday, February 21, 2024

My Father's Journal: "Striving"


(Or “Giants”)

By Ken Muir


How we drive ourselves to excel.  How we push to distance ourselves from the competition, to be relative giants among our more dwarfish peers.


Is it just to make a better living than the next guy, to be a better provider for our loved ones than he is for his? Or is there something more subtle and insidious at work? Are we intrinsically competitive? If so, where does that get us?  Does it just make us faster runners than most in the game of American capitalism?


After seventy-nine years I still do not have a satisfactory answer. Yes, being an ample provider for our families is an estimable goal. And the delights of a comfortable material existence are undeniable…….what billions around the globe would not give to have them!  


But are there not people just as happy as we who live with less, live closer to Nature and who distance themselves from “the grind” but still find inner poise and happiness?


Perhaps all we need is to be adequate to the times, to find a way to function amicably and effectively in the era that we find ourselves in.  Looking at the grand sweep of history, do we truly need to rise above the mass of our fellow citizens?  Does our attempt to stand higher just make us the taller toadstool in the damp forest mass of toadstools?


Billions have lived and died before us. Ninety-nine per cent of them are unknown, unremarked.  Who knows today which were giants and which dwarves, except for those few noted in history? Is striving all it’s cracked up to be?

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