Friday, July 16, 2010

Letter to a daughter

As long as we are alive, we live in a process of choosing who we are and what we contribute towards. If we are lucky, we will identify these things, or at least intuit their direction, earlier than later, so that we may have the benefit of time to shape their development and share in their rewards. The field of possibility is only available to us for a short time before we leave the terrain to others, so we do well to begin today that which we would put off until tomorrow!

To identify a truth within one's own nature is not to make life easier. The truth of the soul and the truths of this world are not easily reconciled, but will relate as antagonists, at least until that day when the world accommodates every individual as a value in and of herself, rather than requiring her to accommodate a thoughtless conformity in the world.

Anytime the individual is denied, certain individuals will emerge as all-important bearers of human freedom, which is never anything more than the freedom of particular persons to assert themselves at the expense of every person. To step forward on one's own behalf is the first step in a challenge to this long-standing regime, for which one does not earn external affirmation but definite penalty of a material kind.

To arm oneself against a material opponent is to become grounded in simplicity and emptiness of need. This is what the prophets discerned before us, giving the spirit -- that truth within ourselves -- the greatest freedom of operation under hostile conditions.

In setting out on your own path, you will be met by obstacles on all sides. This is the challenge of your life, which is uniquely yours to meet. It will not be easy; there will always exist the temptation to move away from yourself, toward the empty promises of external power, and external rewards. May knowing the adversaries you will face, and what you stand to lose by facing them, lend greater sweetness to everything they fail to take away.


almostinfamous said...

i tried to post a comment several times praising this post. this comment is in fond memory of that comment.

to summarize: i really like the anti-cynicism of this post, and i hope to use it to temper the ever-ready monster just around the corner...

JRB said...

I'm glad, my friend.

I'm re-thinking my approach to cynicism. The internet already does it so well!