Friday, 20 March 2015

What do you want to do when you are grown-up?

A question which it has become almost impossible answer honestly and hopefully.

At least, if you are a boy. Girls have the enduring possibility of motherhood - if they have not been taught to despise it.



Nicholas Fulford said...

Imagine your better self, then pull yourself up to that level.

It is less the choice of vocation than the honesty with which a person toils. The character of Sisyphus toils with his rock every day, pushing it up the mountain, and at the end of each day it rolls over him; the next day he starts again. This image describes the common lot, but let's look at it through a different lens. I like the lens that Robert Heinlein uses with Rodin's Fallen Caryatid - my favourite sculpture by the way.

For three thousand years architects designed buildings with columns shaped as female figures. At last Rodin pointed out that this was work too heavy for a girl. He didn’t say, ‘Look, you jerks, if you must do this, make it a brawny male figure.’ No, he showed it. This poor little caryatid has fallen under the load. She’s a good girl-look at her face. Serious, unhappy at her failure, not blaming anyone, not even the gods…and still trying to shoulder her load, after she’s crumpled under it.

“But she’s more than good art denouncing bad art; she’s a symbol for every woman who ever shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone women—this symbol means every man and woman who ever sweated out life in uncomplaining fortitude, until they crumpled under their loads. It’s courage, […] and victory.”


“Victory in defeat; there is none higher. She didn’t give up[…]; she’s still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her. She’s a father working while cancer eats away his insides, to bring home one more pay check. She’s a twelve-year old trying to mother her brothers and sisters because Mama had to go to Heaven. She’s a switchboard operator sticking to her post while smoke chokes her and fire cuts off her escape. She’s all the unsung heroes who couldn’t make it but never quit.

We progress through ideals and resistance training. The knife that does not know the stone is dull. The ox that knows not the yoke is weak. A man without courage is degenerate. We struggle to find and act upon that courage with passion, sympathy and tenacity, and as we succeed we progress. The fact that in the end we collapse like the Fallen Caryatid just proves us, because we do not surrender under the burden - ever.

Luqman said...

The most common answer I receive, in variations but with the same underlying theme, and a bit depressing: I want to grow up to be free of responsibility.

Bruce Charlton said...

@L - This is the triumph of Leftism.

In essence it is anti-life: the desire for a minimal risk, comfortable and pleasant existence, death without suffering and then annihilation - lacking which suicide must be very appealing.

However, none of that is an option if, as the vast majority of humanity have always believed, death is NOT annihilation.