With our finite minds we cannot presume to know if there is a Purpose. We sense, however, the presence of something greater than we can comprehend, a force as yet unknown to us - perhaps even to be unknown. So we accept our situation, learn from it, and do the best we can, resting on faith, despair, or cynicism, depending on the individual. Overriding all this must be an obligation - self-imposed or externally impressed - to do the best one can for others, to relieve suffering and to exercise compassion. We are all in this together, for life is a common, not an individual, endeavor.
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men.
The unconscious is the true psychic reality; in its inner nature it is just as much unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly communicated to us by the data of consciousness as is the external world by the reports of our sense-organs.
How extraordinary is the situation of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without going deeper than our daily life, it is plain we exist for our fellow men, in the first place for those upon whose smiles and welfare our happiness depends, and next for all those unknown to us personally but to whose destinies we are bound by the tie of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving.
‘Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. ‘Tis not contrary to reason for me to chose my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me. ‘Tis as little contrary to reason to prefer even my own acknowledg’d lesser good to my greater, and have a more ardent affection for the former than the latter... In short, a passion must be accompany’d with some false judgment, in order to its being unreasonable; and even then ‘tis not the passion, properly speaking, which is unreasonable, but the judgment.
Mere survival has always been the surface, bottom-line surface for our existence... Survival alone does not ennoble us... True meaning... can be found in what we’ve yet to accomplish, in the realm of the unknown. We must resolve to look deep within, at the unrealized potential of our unevolved selves. Materially, the unknown is one vast nothingness; potentially, it is all things. The unknown within us is where all dreams, thoughts and genius are frozen. The act of searching to make known the unknown triggers the brain. It allows us to incorporate, in ourselves, a greater consciousness, lighting the way for our dreams to enact themselves. Although we seem small in comparison with the whole universe, we are equipped with the greatest cosmic hookup ever created: the human brain. The brain - linked unconsciously to the infinite mind where the unknown resides - only facilitates thoughts, it does not create it. In struggling to find the answer to why we exist, we awaken the infinite mind to the unknown, making known the unknown, bringing meaning to our existence and commonness to all.
This divination of the spiritual in the things of sense, and which expresses itself I the things of sense, is precisely what we call Poetry. Metaphysics too pursues a spiritual prey, but in a very different formal object. Whereas metaphysics stands in the line of knowledge and of the contemplation of truth, poetry stands in the line of making and of the delight procured by beauty. The difference is an all-important one, and one that it would be harmful to disregard. Metaphysics snatches at the spiritual in an idea, by the most abstract intellection; poetry reaches it in the flesh, by the very point of the sense sharpened through intelligence... Metaphysics gives chase to essences and definitions, poetry to any flash of existence glittering by the way, and any reflection of an invisible order. Metaphysics isolates mystery in order to know it; poetry, thanks to the balances it constructs, handles and utilizes mystery as an unknown force.
For it is unknown what is the real nature of the soul, whether it be born with the bodily frame or be infused at the moment of birth, whether it perishes along with us, when death separates the soul and body, or whether it visits the shades of Pluto and bottomless pits, or enters by divine appointment into other animals.
All nature is but art, unknown to thee; all chance, direction, which thou canst not see; all discord harmony, not understood; all partial evil, universal good: and, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite, one truth is clear, “Whatever is, is Right.”
We do not have to hold on to our identity to survive... We see that no states of mind are solid; they only become solid when we weave them into a story. We discover that opening to the vast open space of awareness does not destroy us. We learn to trust in the unknown as a guide to what is most fresh and alive in the moment.