Two opposing thoughts?
First thought: there were five elemental truths passed on in traditional imitation rights:
Life is hard
You are not as important as you think
Your life is not about you
You are not in control
You are going to die
Second thought: Humans have a great desire to live with freedom: to be autonomous, the develop competency, and to have a purpose. This means living courageously (to do what we MUST for the sake of others); generously (to develop a pay-it-forward culture out of our “wealth”), and to live wisely (all we know, our skills, and our imagining of the future connecting up).
On the surface, these appear to be saying different things. However, the intention of the elemental truths is to free up young people entering adulthood to die up front so that they are free to live as contributing members of their societies and cultures. We shortcut these at our peril: when an Australian aboriginal boy was about to enter adulthood, the final rite would be to leave the village for a particular location where he would source flint and fashion an axe, which he’d then bring back as symbol of his contribution to his community. When the British and Irish arrived, they distributed steel axes – I’ll leave it to you to imagine what this did.
But with this meaning of freeing, the five statements can be added to. Here’re some possibilities; you’re welcome to add your own:
Life is hard but we can help one another
You are not as important as you think but neither are you unimportant and you have something unique to contribute
Your life is not about you but in focusing on helping others you’ll be more fulfilled and satisfied than you can imagine
You are not in control of many things but you are in control of your choices over who you are and what you have and what you do with these
You are going to die but every day until then you have an opportunity to live with creativity, enjoyment, and generosity