Saturday, May 23, 2009

Isn’t it enough simply to survive each day? 

Isn’t it enough simply to survive each day? To make it through the conscious hours unscathed, completing one’s allotted tasks, without giving upset to another, without being unduly upset by another; to be fortunate enough not to know hunger, or physical pain, or disease; to sleep at night safe in the knowledge that the hours until dawn will pass undisturbed?

For almost all of human history, from the time our ancestors came down from the trees to live in caves, right up to just a few generations ago, this life of ours would seem, if viewed from the perspective of those ancestors, just a couple of degrees short of heaven. After so many millennia of struggle, you’d have thought it would be in our genes to welcome such an easy life; to be content with days that contain so few challenges, so few fears. No tigers outside the circle of fire, no brigands at the door, no secret police in the dead of night.

Why then do I feel so powerfully that mere survival is so far short of being enough that it’s barely worth the effort?

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