I came across this note I had sent to my oldest son on the occasion of an incident with a lover affair that had soured. As my name sake, he has chosen to live too many of the same patterns of life that I have. This note was sent with and continues be an expression of what a dad should honor with his children. It is especially significant for a father to stand with and engage his son deeply and authentically.
Soren Kierkegaard “Dread” – He who is educated by dread [alienation or anxiety] is educated by possibility… When such a person, therefore, goes out from the school of possibility, and knows more thoroughly than a child knows the alphabet that he demands of life absolutely nothing, and that terror, perdition, annihilation dwell next door to every man, and has learned the profitable lesson that dread which alarms may the next instant become a fact, he will then interpret realty differently.
Kierkegaard is thus demonstrating his sense of the Augustinian-Lutheran tradition. Education for man means facing up to his natural impotence and death. As Luther urged us: “I say die, i.e., with the lips of you living body that you can know emotionally that you are a creature will die. Keep in mind that your place among men/women is only a substitute for how you place yourself in the context of creation and to whatever you hold as scared and worthy. I mention this not because our conversation suggest such but the ultimate is the first question that must be answered – all others then fall into line thereafter. The ultimate is the point where the post-modern mood turns to cynicism and despair. It’s romantic inclination that all must be known, tasted with it sickening effects thrown away – if that is impossible then – possibility takes a hubris turn to decay because one is still an animal that must die.
Another author you might consider is Ortega “The Revolt of the Masses” –The man with the clear head is the man who frees himself from those fantastic “Ideas” [the characterological lie about realty and it seductive expectations] and looks life in the face, realizes that everything in it is a problematic, and feels himself lost. And this is the simple truth – that to live is to feel oneself lost – he who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked, he will look round for something to which to cling, and that tragic, ruthless glance, absolutely sincere, because it is a question of his salvation, will cause him to bring order into the chaos of this life. These are the only genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce. He who does not really feel himself lost, is without remission; this is to say, he never finds himself, never comes up against his own reality
Here is where I had to stand – over the past several years I had to be brought down to nothing in order to grasp who and what I am, and where I wanted to build, what I wanted to be and for want I wanted to stand. The struggle continues!
My simple advice to you is to stay in the struggle – taste it – live every minute of it – take advantage of the surrounding you have to explore the ranges of possibilities that your ideas can reach – then with humility choose a life, frame it with all the pretty things your life should have (not just the ladies that find you attractive or whatever else) – dare to live BIG.