The idea is simple: You have a purpose so big and inspiring it transforms your entire life.*
An overnight success almost never is. Might as well plan for the journey.**
We’re told it’s possible to put a dent in the universe.
This is highly unlikely.
The only one I can think of is the collaborative dent we’re presently working on by messing up your only home.
That being said, it doesn’t mean we can’t live a meaningful life: human consciousness asks of us that we do.
We may search for meaning in ourselves but we’ll be disappointed:
An ethnographer studies others; a flâneur searches for self in others.^
meaning has to be located outside ourselves – discovered in the world rather than in our own psyches … the more we forget ourselves, by dedicating ourselves to an external cause or to people we love the more we actualise ourselves. “Self actualisation,” [Viktor Frankl] sums up, “is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.”^^
So we look around –
Look with all your eyes, look.*^
and we begin to notice we are more curious and interested in some things over others, with echoes of these turning up in our values, our talents and our energies, and so we choose to begin living in these directions.
*From Ben Hardy’s Personality Isn’t Permanent;
**From Seth Godin’s blog: All at once and quite suddenly;
^From Richard Sennett’s Building and Dwelling;
^^From Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self Improvement, quoting Viktor Frankl.
*^Jules Verne, from Georges Perec’s An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris.
4 thoughts on “Dents in the universe”
Failure and success are inextricably entwined. If we should fail (not measure-up to conventional ideals) often enough at everything worldly, it may be revealed to us that our greatest ‘success’ (our dent in the world) has nothing to do with worldly success, at all.
Thank you for this, Donna. This is exactly where my reading of Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement is at the moment, in the form of “letting go” of how our culture so often sees things. (I thought I’d respond to this sooner rather than later, but realise there are more responses to make to your comments that will be later rather than sooner – my apologies for this.)
It always feels good when my thoughts strike a chord with another… in some way. I’m not familiar with this author but I relate, deeply, to her book’s title — a practice that has evolved into “the art of living, for me.
Thank you, kindly, but there is no need to respond to whatever I’d added to prior posts! I don’t remember much of what passes between these ears and lands on a page after a day or so… (smile)
Thank you for understanding. The book, by the way, is interesting because it explores self-improvement over millennia, distinguishing between self-help and self-improvement.