Happy Veteran’s Day.
After his first marriage fell apart in the 1960s, songwriter Johnny Cash, moved from Southern California to Tennessee. On the first night in his new home, lonely and depressed, he began to pace the length of the ground floor. It was an enormous house, all but empty of furniture, wedged between a steep hill on one side and Old Hickory Lake on the other. As he walked from one end of the floor to the other, from the hill to the lake, he began to feel, almost frantically, that something was absent.
What’s missing, he thought? His young daughter, Rosanne wasn’t there.
In some ways, Philosophy teaches us detachment from others, that if you don’t become vulnerable to anyone, you can never be hurt. There are people who live like this, whether through solitude or transactional type of relationships. They might put up walls like Walled off Wally
, or they might dedicate themselves exclusively to their work. Buddha for instance, walked out on his wife and son because enlightenment was more important to him.
Yes, a good relationship takes commitment, but it can also teach us how to become a better human. I myself, once overvalued my professional life, only to find my life of accomplishment to be empty and meaningless. Cicero
once asked, “Who is there who would wish to be surrounded by all the riches in the world and enjoy every abundance in life and yet not love or be loved by anyone?
The notion that isolation, and complete devotion to one’s work will get you to a state of supreme enlightenment is a fallacy that many high-achievers still operate by today. You might be able to work longer hours without somebody waiting for you at the dinner table, but it is a hollow and ultimately, unfulfilling existence.
In his, This is Water speech
, David Foster Wallace taught us that we all worship something, whether that be a god, work, power, money or any number of other hedonistic pursuits. The question to ask yourself then is are you worshipping the right things?
Parts of this were taken from Ryan Holiday’s most recent book, Stillness is the Key. Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.“ – Lao Tzu