About Camels and Yachts
Maybe I’m reading too much Nietzsche lately, but since I took the time to spell his freaking name, I feel like touching on some of what he says and how it relates to what we decide to create in this world.
Yeah, that sentence was way frigging long, but we’re talking philosophy, the realm of wasted words.
I don’t adhere to much of what the guy says, but he was pretty smart. Probably too smart. First, allow me to disabuse some of the common notions about his ideas. He did in fact say “God is dead,” but he didn’t proclaim it while dancing around a fire, making whooping sounds. The way I read him is that he had trepidations that humanity was losing faith. He was concerned with the things that will have to fill the vacuum left by God. I personally believe that God is very much alive, but that doesn’t mean I have to dismiss his entire canon.
Unlike most philosophers, he had some ideas going forward. In one book he classified folks as camels, lions, or children—something along those lines.
I’ll stick with the camel part. It’s a damn weird thing to say, but he had a point. To old Fred, the vast majority of people stay in the camel stage of life. Beasts of burden. We’re constantly having things piled on us: ideas, tasks, notions, beliefs, societal norms, structures, etc.
It’s true. I think it is, anyway. Discounting some extremely rare cases, folks are carrying tons of intellectual and emotional baggage into every endeavor or situation. I’d say it’s unavoidable, and I’m not as bold as Nietzsche, thinking this can really be conquered.
But you can pick your battles. I say battles, because it’s very much like war. We all need a purpose that is hard, something bigger than the mundane. Hopefully, the difficulty doesn’t stop you. It’s a rough road, but it’s harder when you’re carrying all that crap on your back.
I’ll say that as a writer, I’m just beginning to realize what this means. If I write from a place of what’s expected, what I think people desire, it’s very hard to do anything original. Not much me will seep into the page, and let’s face it, that’s no good. (Admitting to a degree of narcissism, which we all have)
Say you ignore what I’m postulating and become successful anyway. You see what’s out there and you look at your baggage and say, “I’ll just work with this stuff.” You make a million dollars and everything’s good. But…after the champagne room and the yacht and everything else, it’ll all be born out of baggage. And then you’re in a corner, having to wile away the rest of your life on someone else’s terms. Success doesn’t sound all that great in this scenario.
Now you may be thinking that is an extremely nuanced situation. It is. Kind of like life. My thinking is pretty flexible, I go from here to there and back again a lot. Figured I’d just boil it down to a line from the Isley Brothers. Cue that sweet guitar riff. “It’s your thing, do what you wanna do.”
They can’t “tell you who to sock it to.” Don’t let anyone else, either. Be brave. Step out into the yawning abyss. Crap. Now I’m referencing Kierkegaard. This is getting out of hand. Alright. Enough already. See you after.