The clock is ticking and the anxiety is mounting. What am I doing with my life? How would I feel if I were to die tomorrow? Would I be plagued by regrets or remorse, or could I leave with a light heart?
This is a question that we all ask ourselves at some point, and for some people every day. And I could even go so far as to say that most of us would not be able to leave tomorrow, without remorse or regret.
Since our life is built on an eternal restart, that of going after new goals, one after the other, we don’t really have the feeling of having accomplished something ultimate. One accomplishment calls for another, which is in itself the mark of a form of emptiness that we cultivate because it reassures us.
What would happen if we suddenly decided not to have any objective? At least, a little, while waiting to see. Would it be a heresy in this world made of people who always want more? Do we have the right to stop and contemplate life, that is to say, contemplate our life?
Achieving a goal is not bad in itself, on the contrary, it is the guarantee of acquiring confidence and optimism in our abilities. To live life only through the prism of the objective is, in my opinion, a bit problematic. Can everything really be quantified? What about a thought that becomes transactional instead of living?
Let me explain, in my opinion, anything that is done with the idea of a return on investment is transactional. This thinking becomes toxic when it is applied to personal or even intimate spheres of life. In my opinion, we must keep a distinction between the profane and the sacred. There is nothing wrong with having a secular mindset in our work, especially if it is a business-oriented profession. After all, a job or a business that we own is there, in the first place, to bring us material security, so there is no need to be offended if we seek it.
The concern or even the sacrilege occurs when the profane interferes in environments where it has no place, starting with the family. Of course, the family, in the anthropological sense of the term, has played and still plays today (but less so, depending on the country) a role of social security in which each member has a role to play involving a certain reciprocity. I agree with you. However, I find it hard to believe that transaction should be the rule in a space that could just as well embody benevolence and disinterested action.
In contemporary “modern” societies, the sacred seems to have disappeared, or at least the use of this word is becoming increasingly rare. This semantic disappearance is not insignificant, it testifies to a real retreat of the sacred which is being nibbled away by mercantile values, therefore profane.
Why do I insist on the notion of the sacred?
The sacred is what makes us human, it is an intuitive awareness of a nobility that exceeds us. This is the reason why the human race buried its loved ones more than 100,000 years ago instead of getting rid of them or devouring them. The bond that unites men must not be purely of interest, at the risk of making us automatons driven by accounting algorithms.
The word sacred comes from the Latin “sacro” meaning “to dedicate to a deity, to consecrate, to mark with a sacred character, to sanctify, to honor, to immortalize.”
Without sacred, there is no eternity, there is no invisible link that binds us with the generations that have gone before us and those that will follow. Without the sacred, there is no continuity in the time of human consciousness. When this chain is broken by the intrusion of the profane, we condemn ourselves to relive an immemorial era in which man was only a wolf to man.
To live fully is to put back the sacred where it had disappeared
To leave with a light heart and embrace the uncertainty of the afterlife, we must have been able to weave the links that unite us in time with our predecessors and successors. This implies having germinated the seed of the sacred so that it can become a strong and robust plant that resists the vagaries of time. In practical terms, it simply means that we have taken sacred “breaks” in our lives, that we have been able to slow down and move away from the frenzy that accompanies an existence obsessed with the next goal. When we learn to live this way, we learn to die humanely because we are less attached to earthly things and have learned to connect with the heavens.
Complement: The paradox of the quest for wealth
If our only goal is to get rich without the will to contribute positively to our environment, we risk losing an important motivational lever. Material success is accompanied by hazards that must be overcome by a moral and even spiritual reservoir. If greed is the only thing that motivates us, there is little chance that it will keep us awake for a long time to realize our dreams. Material security is most often only the consequence of having aimed higher, which turns out to be a moral ideal.
“To reach the moon, you have to aim for Mars”.
What is your unattainable Mars (because it is an absolute moral or spiritual value such as freedom or serving God for example) that would allow you to reach the moon (your material success)?
Without the will to reach an absolute, you are less likely to reach an impressive tangible reality.
In reality, often (but not always), the greatest material (secular) successes are based on non-materialistic intentions which have their source in a moral or spiritual (sacred) foundation, without which the sacrifices to be made in order to achieve them would never be made.