Old man’s notion:  A father’s counsel

to my son RJ

The path to knowledge is a forced one.  In order to learn we must be spurred.  In the path to knowledge we are always fighting something, avoiding something, prepared for something.  And that something is inexplicably greater and more powerful than us.

Your problem is you confuse life with what people do.  But you are not unique at that.  Every one of us does that.

What people do is rightfully important, but only as “shields” against the forces that surround us.  We acquire knowledge to shield us against ignorance.  We build a house to shield us against the elements.  We accumulate resources to shield us against hunger and poverty.  We build relationships to shield us against isolation.

We never learn that the things we do are only shields, and we let them dominate and topple our lives.  This can be said of mankind too — what people do is greater and more important than life itself.

The things that people do cannot under any conditions be more important than life.  And thus a wise man treats life as an endless mystery and what people do as an endless folly.

Son, I shudder over the prospect that feels old age.  Even an old man like me has not exhausted life.  Only a stupid old man believes that life has no more mysteries for him because of his confusion.  Don’t you think it is quite a price to pay for one’s shield?

Life is incomprehensible and it is our task to unravel its secrets.

Happy birthday son!


Author:  Rene “RC” Catacutan

Published 05 October 2010