Friday Flashback: Three Important Life Questions

Image: Suicide by Scandinavian artist Joakim Back.

In May 2006, in a review of Nick Hornby’s book A Long Way Down, I concluded with a synopsis of three important questions Hornby poses in the book, questions that are critical for us all to ask and answer for ourselves:

  • If we have no choice, how can we best stop fighting the inevitable, stop wasting time trying to be what are not and cannot be (and trying to make others what they are not), get real about our hopes and dreams, and accept and understand the way things are and why, and make the best of who we are and what we are inevitably going to do and be anyway?
  • What is holding us back? What is keeping us from being what we are going to be and doing what we are going to do? Why is it holding us back? Unless it is self-delusion (the dangers of idealism again) that is holding us back, there may be no changing these restrictions, no loosening of the ropes, but at least we should be able to recognize them and understand their purpose. In Jess’ ‘stupid dog’ analogy, we can accomplish a lot within the constraints of the leash without unnecessarily and foolishly choking ourselves all the time.
  • What happens when we suddenly lose our lifeline? There is a terrible story in today’s Toronto Star about a water-loving dog who slipped his leash, ran off, and ended up drowning in a municipal reservoir whose sides were too steep to climb. Some lifelines are useful, even essential to our health and sanity. Others merely hold us back, delay us from being who we really are and doing what we are meant to do, waste our lives away in illusionary imprisonment. What is frightening is that we don’t know which is which, and we don’t know what we will do, and feel, if we suddenly lose our lifelines. But perhaps by imagining what would happen if we did lose them, we might free ourselves from the ones that are merely unhealthy, merely holdingus back from being something more than who we are. 

Read the whole article.

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1 Response to Friday Flashback: Three Important Life Questions

  1. John Graham says:

    What happens we’ve let go of the rope? When we recognise it’s too late to consider motives or create drama about whether or not it’s right to cling, because it’s done? We fall, and die. And so we grieve, and it’s alright. Or we fight.

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