In this lifetime, we are presented with many choices, each would lead to a completely different story, but still, somehow, all the events that have happened have led to this moment, to me writing, and you reading. Somehow, despite life’s complications, we have found ourselves in this calm moment of reflection. I believe that this is the ultimate goal that we should strive for: to be calm. I believe that we should be stable and reassuring, strong and constant. There is room for spontaneous adventures of course, says the rock climber. It is extremely fun and joyful to climb a mountain, but what does it mean to be a mountain? To be constant, remembered, meaningful. Most importantly, what does it mean to be here? That is the question philosophers have been trying to answer for decades: why are we here? In the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, it proposes the idea that Earth was made for man. I got this book at a used book store, and I knew it was not made for me. Obviously, how could I when there were already underlines under the words, short annotations, and a name in pen on the second page? This book was not made for me, nor were its ideas, but I still read it, underlining the best lines like the people before me. I wrote my name under the first one on the second page and hoped one day the next reader of the aging book would write theirs too.
I suppose the appeal of a used book is mostly in its reduced price, but I like to feel the pages felt by people before me, read the words that people have read, most significantly, it is about connecting not only with the words or characters, but with the surrounding group of people that have experienced the same thing. Across time, perhaps, or generations, we read to connect just as much as we connect with nature. Similar to a book’s journey, nature has been touched and affected by everything that has happened to it in the past. It holds trails that thousands of feet have walked, moss that has survived decades, and ecosystems that have developed throughout all of existence.
“And if the question “What for?” is now asked, the answer is clear: so that just this may go on forever,” as said in The Meaning of Life by Richard Taylor. Where I disagree with Taylor is in the intention behind his words. He describes this phenomenon as the thing that leads to meaninglessness, however, I believe that there is beauty in continuity. There is grace in the tree that doesn’t die, that lives forever in a forest among other trees with the same objective. We are all living like trees, with the goal to grow taller, be bolder and more graceful. We are all trying to grow, no matter what type of tree, our location, or our limitations. We are bonded in our collective origins and similar goals, the height of which we still do not know.