2 min read

037 - On Keeping Your Promise - Moral Letters for Modern Times

It should give you pause to consider that the great many who think themselves in possession of their faculties are in fact being mindlessly swept along.
037 - On Keeping Your Promise - Moral Letters for Modern Times

You have committed to living a good life. Having made the decision knowingly, you are now in a more precarious position than you were before. You walk in full knowledge of the pitfalls that lay about you on all sides, and you cannot make those dangers disappear by closing your eyes to them. Many will cast slings and arrows your way, saying things like “Go ahead, give up wants. Then you won’t want to do anything but sit around all day like a lump!”

No, when you are about your business seriously, you can expect to be doubted and misunderstood and questioned without end. Because you travel in your own measured way, and do not keep pace with the many, those who notice you will try to bring you back to their rhythm, like a biker who has strayed from the peloton. And when you say “Thank you, but no thanks,” in reply “I have all I need,” they will leave you for a fool. “By all means,” they’ll cry, “rush to your death you seem to be so eager to prepare for.”

It should give you pause to consider that the great many who think themselves in possession of their faculties are in fact being mindlessly swept along. They are driven by the whip of desires and wants and emotions as surely as the drover plies his oxen. Onward they pull, carrying every burden behind them, because the only way they know is forward. But we know the only way to escape the yoke is to first realize that it lies upon our shoulders at all times, heavy and unyielding.

The key to unlocking ourselves from our burdens is for us to stop and think, though we are whipped in the resulting stillness by all we think we should be doing. To go forward in the direction we were progressing is to make no progress. But take a turn ninety degrees in our minds, and we can walk away from our shackles as if they had fallen to dust on our shoulders.

Once you know that at least some of your prisons are comprised entirely of your own mind, and that you are your own jailor, you will be free to step outside the confines of your cell. Thus I say live up to your promise: you have your wits about you, and there is nothing more beneficial than living according to reason. You, having nothing, know that you have everything within yourself, and are content. The witless are hopeless because they hope for what they have not.

Be well.

Next Letter →
Overview of All Letters ↑