in: Advice, Character, Sunday Firesides

Sunday Firesides: More Human, More Alive, More Immortal

Human. Alive. Immortal.

We think of these as set, binary states. Things you either are or aren’t.

You’re either human or nonhuman. Dead or alive. Mortal or immortal.

But in truth, these states exist on a continuum, the ends of which you are always moving towards or away from.

If humanness is defined by those traits and behaviors most unique to our species, then the more you practice critical thinking, creativity, compassion, craftsmanship, control, inventiveness, humor, wonder, and awe, the more you embody your humanness; while the more you stay in the shallows and live reflexively and impulsively, the more you step into a reptilian frame.

If aliveness is defined by consciousness, palpable breathing, and coursing blood, then the more things you do that widen the eyes, fill the lungs, and quicken the pulse — running fast, climbing mountains, making love, hoisting weights, taking risks — the more your aliveness is awakened; while the more you remain inert and sleepwalk through your days, the more you’re already entombed.

If immortality is defined by life without end, then the more you embrace timeless, evergreen truths and exercise influence in the world, forwarding a Promethean flame, the more you move towards immortality; while the more you focus on the passing and ethereal, and fail to make the tiniest ripple in the landscape, the more you underline your perishability.

You can live like a lever-pressing rat while still putting on your people pants each day. You can be dead long before the grave. You can wait for an eternity to come rather than realizing that eternity is now. Or, you can seek to transcend the bounds of what seems given, recognizing that humanness, aliveness, and immortality are not fixed, static states of being, but alterable, never-ending pursuits of becoming.

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