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The Hollow Reflection

April 24, 2013

What are you doing at this moment? Probably reading this article. What were you doing before that though? Was it a productive, useful or meaningful exercise?

Hold your tongue for now – we’ll return to this question in just a bit.

I ask you – what is something you terribly fear in life? If we’re to look at a poll (–and-its-not-the-environment-20121204-2atc5.html)reported in the Sydney Morning Herald we see a few things:

1. 17% – nearly 1 in 5 people – don’t worry about anything

2. Finding love accounts for 13% of people’s deepest worries

3. People value their (not society or others) personal health and fitness as their greatest worry 7 times per 100 people

The poll also cites the environment and worries about job hunting as accounting for 63% of people’s greatest fears. These concerns are to my mind more praiseworthy than the above, although not the end goal. Think about those above statements for a few seconds.

The first statement means that nearly 1 in 5 are carefree and seem to have no worries, no fears. Now, it’s possible that all these people are simply adept at shrugging off the stress that one can succumb to in life. Make no mistake – such people are admirable, and we ought to take what we can from their experiences and virtues. However, I don’t think that those 17% are all paragons of avoiding worry. It’s possible that some of these 17% don’t contribute to their families or sustain themselves. It’s possible that these 17% don’t really think about where they want to be in life; they fritter their life away on trivialities.

The second statement and 3rd statements both convey honourable goals, but they belie a deeper worry. We want to find love and be healthy, but should it be our greatest fear? I don’t think so. Don’t you find it self-centred that 20% of people’s greatest fear is finding their health and fitness as well or finding love? Why can’t collegiality, or amicable relations with many be our goal instead of ‘love’ ? Can’t a fellow be chaste and yet by a paragon of brilliance? Of course love is not purely or even primarily physical, yet we would do well to remember the popular connotations of love. This is especially true in a more liberal age of sexuality. That said, those points could cover multiple other posts! And as for fitness? I am a strong believer in maintaining physical health; the deplorable state of many adults’ health is something to rightly bemoan. However, to place it as the greatest fear in one’s life is to say that everything else is of lesser importance. That is a very bold statement to proclaim, and I do not accept the statement as something that we should [see footnote 1] accept.

What then do I fear?

A clock ticks slowly on the wall, and I feel my body getting terribly weary. I look upon my life and realise that it is, it was so… hollow. I ask what I have done for the world, and I can say little. I ask whether I completed what I set out to achieve; I invariably haven’t. It dawns on me that I’ve frivolously so much of my life on trivialities. All that wasted time, all that neglect of meaningful existence and achieving goals for greater, higher causes. And I see in that moment that my time is up, and I’m so disappointed with myself.

That’s one of the fears that haunts me. That I waste so many precious moments, fail to seize the day, and don’t grasp opportunities. To make the world a better place can be done via micro or macro reform; we’ve discussed this before[2] . How you spend your time will impact both yourself and contribute to your synthesis and it will affect society.

Carpe diem; seize the day. Go and act so that you can know, know that you did not waste your life on trivialities.



Footnote 1 – Obviously what we should do is a complex question. The word ‘should’ is only typically explainable by reference to some type of criterion. Unfortunately said criterions do have a subjective aspect at times. However, this isn’t to say that we can’t change the subjective beliefs of people or question the reasons behind the use of a criterion. This is all rather beyond this post’s scope though. Suffice to say, it’s hard to find meaningful criterions that posit one’s health as being of greater importance than every single other thing in life.

Footnote 2 –



From → Foundations

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