Affirmations of a Metaphysical Minimalist

You are stronger and more flexible than you think you are. The world can be faced squarely, embraced despite its lack of readymade handholds; you must simply grow to the task. Our home is a desert, yes, vast and protean and inhospitable but a home—a biome—nonetheless. Its water kept not within the mirages we chase along its surface or the clouds we dream into its skies but squirreled away in humming aquifers, in the bellies of cacti, beneath grit and stone and thorn. You must work for it.

The nihilist is not the one whose heart has learned to thrive upon the small and brute but the one who can only love reality as some master’s artifact, as a dressed stage for a play at once grander and absurdly parochial. Understand that humanity is not elevated by assimilating it in its rich individuality to simplistic types, teams, and roles, by crediting its every improbable stand against despair to some unseen director or the fickle favor of critics. The world is wider than any story you can wreathe around your life and subsumes all actors, stagehands, audiences, playwrights. The sooner we warm to this fact the sooner we may begin to see our fellow castaways as more than mere props to use, treasures to win, or barbarians to vanquish within the sand-blind scope of our boyish little heroes’ quests. And the sooner we can let our fellows be our fellows the sooner we can start letting ourselves be more than our performances.

There is meaning in this world—food in this desert—but it’s for the making, not the taking. Life beats on here, all the more beautifully for the mereness and messiness of its drama. And the indifference of the cosmos to it all is not some pulsing horror from which to flee into valorizing fantasy but a stone to brace against, a bare field in which to pitch our trowels and tend our own defiant goodness, humble and imperfect and enacted (at last) solely for those who truly need it. It is precisely because the gods don’t care that we must learn to do so.

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