We don’t get to choose the time we are born in. Our soul came into this earth at an exact, random time in history, one that has its own unique zeitgeist. The time that chose me and you is a safe and comfortable time, for the most part. We are protected by man-made structures that shelter us from what used to be direct threats to earlier humans. Our food, water and entertainment are available at the click of a button, our safety is all but guaranteed thanks to the powerful state and excluding some extremely rare cases, we all but know that we’ll wake up tomorrow.
It is during this time that men like me and you have been looking for something more. Something beyond the comfort and lethargy that are so predominant in modernity. After searching for some time, we’ve arrived at a revealing conclusion: a life well lived is one where a man seeks constant improvement. There is meaning in the pursuit of betterment, and striving to be better every day can be a life-saving purpose in a generally purposeless time.
However, our pursuit of improvement tends to be framed within the comfort that defines our epoch. We sit at home and read, study, watch educational videos, think, and read some more. We spend countless hours filling our minds with theories, practical “life-hacks” and statistics.
But man is made to live, not theorize.
No amount of intellectual exercise will replace the value that real world experiences add to the life of any man. An hour of open-sky adventure will teach a man more about himself, others, and life in general than a hundred books can.
A man will never accomplish his potential from home. Development is to be found out in the world, and it shall come in the form of involuntary waves of illumination following dangerous, adventurous experiences, because the greatest form of improvement is that toughness of character that only starts to appear after having looked danger in the eye without backing down.
Nietzsche said it best:
“Meaning and morality of One's life come from within oneself. Healthy, strong individuals seek self expansion by experimenting and by living dangerously. Life consists of an infinite number of possibilities and the healthy person explores as many of them as possible (...) The good life is ever changing, challenging, devoid of regret, intense, creative and risky.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Life can be a wonderful adventure, but only if we are willing to reject the comfortable lethargy of modern life and dive deep into the unknown. How else are we to find our calling? How else are we to answer the pressing questions that consume our minds? If we limit our entire existence to a couple of rooms within a house, a cubicle under artificial light, and the plastic seats of the subway, the overwhelming beauty of life will pass us by mercilessly. The great paradox of life is that to find this beauty in which the answers of life linger, a man has to risk the security he has worked so hard to amass and face the dangers of uncertainty.
It is worth it, friend. Security and comfort have no value unless they are accompanied by an adventurous spirit willing to abandon them from time to time.
I call on you to seek risk and danger. I know you are intelligent enough to discriminate between risks worth taking and plain stupid dangers that are not worth facing. But introducing a measure of risk in what is most likely an excessively safe and comfortable life will benefit you greatly.
Don’t let modernity kill your spirit. Live life fully and shut down the inner voices that hold you back from living a life full of beauty, self-expansion and the most vast array of human emotion.
This article was featured in The Development Society's "Letters from DEVSOC" section. Check it out here, and check out their amazing project here.
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