Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Walking to drain away envies and grudges.
• "Those long hours of walking drained away envies and grudges... old hatreds suddenly appeared vain, petty, futile." (75-6) How long would you have to walk, to experience such a drain? (Or are you one of those rare humans without envies and grudges?)
As I read about Rousseau’s journey through life in both Herman and Gros and how his walking evolved until in the end, he was walking, “with nothing left to hope for or expect. Just life, allowing yourself to exist,” I was reminded of a couple of quotes, one from Andy Dufresne and “Red” Redding in the Shawshank Redemption – “Get busy living or get busy dying,” and one by Dylan Thomas, “Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Do not go gentle into that good night.”
For all of Rousseau’s attempt to capture the essence of primitive man, the “noble savage,” I believe he missed a far greater concept that has transcended human beings from the beginning of life as a single cell, that is the desire to survive and thrive and along the way to help others achieve the same.
In the past few weeks we have lost some special people, Muhammed Ali and now Pat Summitt who accepted death but who have left a legacy of helping so many people. We have also been witness to some horrific scenes of violence in Orlando and Istanbul and acts of courage and caring by individuals who put others’ lives before their own.
Walking to reflect is good for everyone but walking to lift up another will uplift you and you will realize that there is still plenty to hope for. Rousseau didn’t have to see his life drain away, he just needed to get busy living.