11. The path of least existence

You’ve made it this far—in the Guide to Modern Living and in life. You want to go further: dream bigger, soar higher, worry less and succeed more. But you also just want to get by. Stand tall for what you believe… but not get dirty. Be judicious but not judge.

Raise a fist and run.
How do you know what’s important? What’s authentic? What’s safe? What is worth your effort, involvement and stress, and what is best left for someone else to fix?

Many believe that desiring is deserving. The more you want it, the more you should have it. When you fail, it isn’t because you didn’t work hard enough. You didn’t want hard enough—and not just for personal gain. You know the world owes you nothing. You are in debt to all of its trappings, and ought to give back more than trash, pain and poison.

You want to conquer corruption—to raise aloft the downtrodden. But given the magnitude of problems, results will not satisfy, and the integrity of your intent will be under attack. You can never do enough, and what you do accomplish is complicated by your privilege that thinks it can determine and dispense improvement.

Some say desire leads to dissatisfaction. You will fall short anyway—suppressing passion upfront prevents your feeling bad when you fail.

How much must you desire to desire no desire until you get what you want?
It is devastating to lack sufficient want. It’s too damn confusing to not desire at all. You deserve what you get. But you don’t always get what you deserve—and often, that’s best.

Let the craving to aspire, accomplish and become be an end in itself. Need want but regard actually getting as dangerous and empty. The middling way guarantees stability. The path of least existence will keep you safe.

Above all, don’t confuse dissatisfaction with complacency. Don’t believe dissonance means you’re doing something wrong. Thinking yourself progressive, a reasonably good person, but knowing the depth of your indifference and apathy is still progress. It’s perfectly reasonable and still reasonably good.

Lack of fulfillment doesn’t fragment experience. Experience fragments experience. And you want to be whole.

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