One of the many regrets of my life is I never found a path to a meaningful life.
Not that I ever looked very hard.
Like many people, I get caught up in day-to-day existence, stumble through life. Lots of distractions, don’t you know. Not the least of which is my pesky cat, climbing all over my computer and bookshelves, trying to get my attention.
As Dante says at the start of Inferno, “Midway in the journey of our life, I woke to find myself in dark woods, having lost the correct path.” At least I woke up. Many people never wake, never face the reality of their lives, have no self-awareness.
My regret of years lost in a pointless, wasted life resurfaced when I came across this website: Center for Cowboy Ethics & Leadership.
How do we find meaning in our short lives?
Cowboys have a simple answer: Every one of us, as an individual, is responsible for what we do, for who we are, for the way we face and deal with the world, and ultimately, for the way the world is.
Maybe it’s not too late for me to take this path. Time to saddle up!
Yeah, I’ll get right on it.
Right after I check out the latest crazy photos on Is Anyone Up?, see what Sasha the cat wants, take out the trash, and check what’s on TV — maybe those relentless, bothersome zombies on Walking Dead. Now there’s some people who lack self-awareness!
As I said, too many distractions. As my favorite philosopher Blaise Pascal says, “All of man’s misfortune comes from one thing, which is not knowing how to sit quietly in a room.” Distractions are a detour from the path to a meaningful life.
What does Sasha want? Maybe I should be paying bills rather than working on my blog. Money. I should be doing something that makes money.
Also on the website is this illustration, which the website claims is an actual photo. Anyway, I think it’s inspiring. Especially helpful for someone lost in a dark forest, paralyzed with the seeming futility and meaninglessness of life.
From the website…
Titled “Hero of the Storm,” this extraordinary photograph really
says it all. Just look at this image and ask yourself: What kind
of person does it take to get up in the middle of the night,
saddle up his horse and set out into a raging blizzard — all
to rescue a calf he doesn’t even own? This cowboy is simply
“doing what has to be done” with no regard for his own comfort or safety.
This kind of ties into a Nicely Said post I’m writing. The theme is how the culture we live in and our emotions — more than anything else — shape our behavior, the decisions we make, who we are.
We may think that what we believe and do is largely under our conscious control. We may believe that we should try to increase this control by the conscious exercise of reasoning and will power. But are we just fooling ourselves?
Do social and subconscious powers actually control more of our lives than we think?
Could explain why people make irrational, even self-destructive decisions.
My favorite Pascal quote has an answer:
The Heart has its own reasons that Reason itself cannot understand
Why is the cowboy willingly risking his life to save someone else’s calf? (And what about the cowboy’s poor horse?)
Why did the first responders on 9/11 rush into the burning World Trade Center towers?
Why does a soldier willingly give his life to save his comrades?
Self-sacrifice is the subject of an excerpt I’m using in my Nicely Said posting from WAR by Sebastian Junger, a book about an American platoon’s experience in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley in 2007 and 2008.
Talk about “doing what has to be done” regardless of cost, one of the platoon’s members in Junger’s book is Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, a soldier who risked his life to stop Taliban fighters from kidnapping a fallen comrade.
In 2010, Pres. Obama presented Giunta with the Medal of Honor for the actions Junger relates in heart-pounding detail.
If any of this interests you, vote for the Nicely Said post in the poll you’ll find in my Dec. 3 post, Writer’s Block.
My cat Sasha is bugging me. She must be fed NOW! Which is how I translate that long, loud MEOW!
Sasha’s green eyes flash with impatience. She lives in the now — no past, no future. A creature ruled by her appetites. Like the zombies on the Walking Dead. Like most people.