Goals, but as a means to what end?
For I know no other that lasts; all other ends that we may pursue: sex, pride, gratification, self-satisfaction, approval, status, image, respect – these are mere vanities.
Vanities chiefly fed by insecurity, which leads to that slow, creeping death of the soul we call conformity.
No man was born to live another man’s life.
Yet still, we do.
We covet other men’s things, we envy other men’s lives; appraising ourselves without ever taking our own lot into account.
Envy, insecurities, vanities – these things all breed jealousy: that poisonous seed of loathing, which causes us to privately repudiate ourselves to no end – never knowing that we have sown the seeds of our own discontent.
Thus our happiness never has a chance of living up to our standards, which, in reality, do not belong to us but have been handed down to us by society: a mirror no man finds himself likable in; for there will always be that unfortunate mass of persons projecting their own perceived insecurities back upon us.
In this way, society is like a two-way mirror in which each man measures himself in others, and others in himself.
Silly as it is, it is so, human foibles being the invisible cages they are.
If we only realized all the faults in our thinking that limit our perceptions and diminish our hopes!
It’s the quiet desperation, which most men resign themselves to, as Thoreau wrote:
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. – Walden
We have it all wrong yet it serves society and those who benefit from exerting their wills upon our own, weaker images of self.
Writing this and outlining my beliefs, I feel a stranger to my past, my memories distant feelings I no longer wish to recapture – as I have previously sought so desperately (And sadly) to.
As a wise person once said: Comparison is the great thief of joy.
Nonetheless we compare, constantly looking in vain into that two-way mirror.
And who do we look to as a society, whom do we most admire?
Those who had the confidence to look not to society, asking who am I, but to themselves, asking: who might I be?
And being intrepid travelers, venturing into their own minds and seeing themselves clearly, they consciously choose to become, while the rest of us unconsciously became.