EXCERPT FROM THE CHOSEN: BATTLE LINES

RAVEN

Life is full of disappointments. Yet somehow, everyone thinks their lives will be the exception. When you’re young, you look upon the future with so much hope. But when you’ve grown up you look at life with calm, reason and dread. Especially when you see the young ones coming up who haven’t been beaten up by life yet. It’s hilarious. Well, if you allow yourself to see the comedy in it.

Which is why I love the tales of Charles Dickens and all of Shakespeare. Because each can be seen as either tragedy or a comedy.

But seriously, what does one do when their life plan fails? Do you metaphorically make lemonade out of lemons? Do you settle? Of course most people don’t like to think of failing. But the world is a tough place, filled with millions competing for things only hundreds will have. It is more realistic to make plans for what happens if you don’t get what you want. Ambition isn’t necessarily bad, but not considering failure is foolhardy.

When I was younger I too had ambition. But I learnt that the world doesn’t give a crap about you. It existed long before and will exist long after you. And whether you fail or succeed, life goes on. A lot of horrible crap happens to people every day of every week. But you don’t care do you? It’s not that you’re a bad person. You just don’t have the capacity to. You would self-destruct from caring too much. Which is why I don’t really mind all the selfishness in the world. Because without it, we would have been too caught up in all the problems to move forward. Poverty is an important problem, but should scientific innovations pause and wait until poverty is solved? And what if it’s never solved?

These are hard questions. And I’ve had a lot of time to think about them. I don’t’ have many friends because of my bleak outlook on a lot of issues. I wouldn’t want it any other way anyway. I hate shallow, flaky people.

My point is, you must be able to see life dispassionately. And see yourself not as you hope or believe yourself to be. But rather as the obvious information suggests you are. Leave the world of opinion and introspection behind. And deal with the world of hard facts. Be objective. The traditional belief that knowing oneself comes from solitude and meditation is just a fad. The only way someone finds out more about themselves is when they interact with their environment. When one is put in a new environment they’ve never been in before, their behaviour lets them find out things about themselves they didn’t know before.

As Draconian soldiers we were stretched to our limits, exposed to all kinds of physical extremities. Allowing us to know our strengths and weaknesses. Unlike the elkin who stay sheltered and avoid trouble. Neither approach when taken to an extreme is helpful. Exposing yourself to too much risk will end very very badly. But running away won’t accomplish anything.

But I’m worried about people like Lisa most of all. Ambitious, driven people who go at it alone. What happens when they hit a wall?

 

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