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A Spiritual Thirst To Quench

man sitting on a field looking at the starry night sky

In every human being there’s a deep spiritual thirst to quench. You may become occupied for some time, on occasion, with issues of survivability, comfort, love, acceptance, and so forth. But after these are taken care of, there remains one thing: the spiritual, or philosophical thirst, that can’t be ignored or dismissed indefinitely. This is part of being human.

This thirst is about satisfying a need for higher purpose.

By “higher purpose” I do not imply affiliation to a religion, or even wondering about the mysteries of life in a philosophical sense — although it could be, if that’s what makes the most sense to you. The thirst is about seeking and fulfilling that which is the highest purpose, or idea, that you make for yourself. For some it’s about becoming a successful athlete; for others, it’s about perfecting an art form. Becoming an accomplished musician, a singer. Maybe a poet, a painter, a sculptor. Maybe it’s about writing, speaking, or even being a radio presenter. For others it’s not necessarily about doing things, but where they focus their attention on. What interests them.

The appreciation for the individual striving that is unique, different, and innovative, has faded. In older times, while not everything about the world was perfect, there was nevertheless an admiration and recognition for the thinkers, the inventors, and the artists, that seems to have largely faded in the modern world. Names such as Shakespeare, Beethoven, Mozart, Dante, Wilde, Newton, Tesla, Archimedes, Da Vinci, Plato, Aristotle, Chopin, Rembrandt, Picasso. While it’s perhaps a little reductive to skim through mankind’s finest in such a short list, my point is that humanity has lost some of its nous in recognizing and appreciating the quest for higher thought, whatever the form it may take — and attributing actual usefulness and merit to its seekers.

Notice I didn’t mention religious or spiritual figures. These examples were intrepid explorers of the human nature, each with their own contributions to humanity in their own time. In their lives they answered their own calling within themselves, which is an attitude I would like to add to the meaning of “spiritual”.

At the moment the attention of the masses is turned towards “celebrities”: singers, actors, sports athletes. These are the gods of this age. I do value the merit of someone who endured and fought to be acknowledged in their craft and thrive, as is the case of these individuals. However paying so much attention and reverence, in a large scale, to such a narrow band of human value and endeavor, invites the nurturing of the futile and superficial. It doesn’t focus, feed, or even begins to satiate, the “spiritual” side of things within every human.

Of course, I’m not sure Beethoven or Archimedes actually had the opportunity to be appreciated by the general population of their time, the “masses”. A large percentage of the population was certainly illiterate and devoted their lives to basic activities of sustenance, farming, etc. But, given that today we are in the age of information, where knowledge and education are more accessible than ever before, and communication is as facilitated as it’s ever been, we could certainly envision a scenario where these kinds of individuals, along with their multiple viewpoints, and the efforts they represent, could be more valued and recognized by larger numbers of people. This is not the case I’m afraid.

This is not an evaluation of doom and gloom, an announcement for a downward spiral of humanity. Simply an observation that there’s a potential that remains to be fulfilled. And that we, as a collective, might be missing the meaningful, guiding efforts of those who think ahead of their time.

You might believe that the need to explore and explain reality comes from biological evolution; or, that there’s a deeper/higher meaning to it. Regardless, I don’t think I’d be telling a lie if I say that this questioning, in itself, is important to us. Holding a strictly materialistic view (ex. “nothing about the human exists beyond biological matter”), an explicitly spiritual one, or having a more agnostic perspective (ex. “I don’t really know and it doesn’t really matter to me”), all of these are standpoints. Even not caring, or not believing, is a standpoint.

I’s a fundamental trait of a human mind, or spirit, to have, to adopt, a standpoint. And go through stages in life where one cycles back and forth between perspectives and beliefs, until we find one that best suits us. And even after that, more events and circumstances might make us shift again. I believe the seeking is within each of us. That it’s a part of every human, to some degree of other. And this is what gives value to humanity as a whole.

Spending life on one’s personal track isn’t strictly the privilege of a very few.

Because I don’t believe all tracks necessarily lead to grandiose results, flashy and famous lives, or are meant to delve in philosophy. Perhaps being on your own track to you means mastering a specific craft or endeavor, like farming produce, baking, or owning your business, and do it well. Perhaps being on your track is a meaning or role: being a good parent, a responsible and honest person, someone others trust and/and care for.

I would classify this as “higher” purpose, not in a traditional sense of being called upon by a deity and do service to God, but in the sense of you being aware and in touch of what fills your own spiritual cup, what truly fulfills you in a deeper sense. What you really want to be doing.

So let this be my call for others to spend their own time seeking and travelling along their own track. Because that’s what gives meaning to life.

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