When we begin the exploration, when we really start the journey of self-awareness and self-reflection, how deep are we prepared to go, how far do we dare to go?  “Here there be dragons”.  Ancient cartographers admonished from the edges of the known universe to warn the reckless and the unwary of the dangers they were likely to encounter if they strayed too far.  It referred to the mystery and peril of the unknown.  But the unexamined life?  Socrates didn’t give it much merit.

As I try to examine motivation and morality, ethics, the fabric of our social contract, there are perils aplenty. These are generally uncharted seas, at least to me.  Who can say that they close their eyes each night with a clear conscience or their sleep is untroubled by haunted dreams?  Didn’t think so.  There are jagged reefs of hubris, towering waves of mistrust and subtle currents of discrimination.  Our ship is made of dry wood, poorly caulked, taking on water.  Our compass is without polarity and our hourglass is filled with rocks, not sand. Our sails are in tatters.  We are the Pequod.

There are some dark, discouraging themes in this collection.  That is to be expected.  How can we know the light if we don’t first examine and understand the dark?  I’m afraid all I do is ask uncomfortable questions, then try to find reasonable answers.  I’m not prepared to give no thought for the morrow.  I want to know what’s behind, within and ahead.  Look carefully and you might find some glimmers of light but stare into the funhouse mirror and try to make sense of your own reflection.  This is my expectation, my goal. 

It’s not easy.

Lesson #65 – Here There Be Dragons

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