STOIC POETRY | Be safe... But not too safe
Updated: Sep 4, 2021
October 8, 2019
And what of the fearful things of this world...? You knew some of these, and yet you fell at the first major encounter of life's deeper danger, and, dare I say, terror. Yes, it must have been a terror to you, though I know you put on a strong face. But yet, you fell. And I know that you were likely stronger than I was then, and that I too might have fallen just the same.
I too will fall. And I too do fear. And I will also likely know real terror before this living is complete. And what of it? What's to be done about the fact that life is dangerous, and fearful and even terrible sometimes?
One very good thing to be done is to prepare and to stand ready for the fall; to set aside supporting resources and to create a safe place of retreat, and to cultivate family and friends who can help catch us when we fall and who we can catch when they fall. This is humanity at its best... This is society and the bonds which make us strong and resilient and as a species able to weather come what may. Our social manner is why we are still here. It's an essential part of being human to want and embrace and to care for others. We survive in this way - not individually - but as a whole. Humans care for one another. It's how we manage the fear, and keep back the terror and dispel the colder night which is always out there and sometimes swirling close.
Be safe... But not too safe
It is folly to ignore safe practices and behaviors and to sometimes leave the tribe behind in order to do things and to go places where there is no one to catch us should we fall. Why do some of us do this then? Why are there those among us who willingly let loose the holding hand, who open the garden gate and then step out into the wild? And why do some of us do this alone? And why do some leave no word with others where they will be or just when they might return? Why do we go alone into the scary world? Why do we sneak out of the sanctuary and into the night? What are we looking for out there in the cold and dark and howling?
I am one such person. Here's my reason:
I go because I am curious. I want to see and discover what isn't here. It's because we don't know all the answers - let alone the questions - and I want to find and ask, and attempt to answer some good questions while I yet have a chance. I want to ask and try to answer questions which I might not even know how to share with you. That's why you can't come with me. Because you and I are stuck with the same questions and answers. It's that safe and sane glue and fabric of society that mucks things up. The same safe stuff which binds and keeps us secure and which also holds us behind the velvet rope of agreement and convention. It's our common bond and concern for one another that reminds us to keep back from the No Trespassing sign. It's what makes us behave well and good and sane when others are looking. And I want to go to the places I'd go if I knew that no one was looking. And I want to think the thoughts I'd think when I have no one to talk to. And I want to ask the questions I'd ask when there is no one to hear and answer. And so, I go alone.
And so, I accept that I may fall alone, and that I may face my fear alone, and that I may even encounter terror with no one there to hold me. This is a price we must pay in the form of accepted risk which must be balanced with the life responsibilities we choose to assume. But, what a worthwhile risk. And what a worthwhile balance.
My name is Kurt Bell.
You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.
Be safe... But not too safe.
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