Deep in our hearts there is a call to live in communion with others, a call to love, to create, to risk. But there is also that radical feeling of our poverty when faced with human misery. I am afraid to give myself. I have constructed a world of security around me…so many so-called interests which keep me from communing with others…I want to, but cannot. So many things seem to prevent me from loving and I feel them in my inmost being…so many defences and fears. I risk losing hope. I risk entering into a world of sadness and I begin to doubt myself. I have doubts about others. I doubt the value of my presence. I doubt everything.
This is our human condition. We want so much but we feel incapable. We believe in love but where is it? There are so many obstacles to break through within ourselves in order to become free and to become present to others; to their misery and to their person.
…as we proceed to higher and higher levels of expertise, and as the stakes get higher and higher, the agonies of excellence reappear in new and frightening ways. A tiny minority gets through to the top, to memorable excellence or profound understanding. The rest of us stop at stages along the way, perhaps for a temporary rest, perhaps for a period of reassessment. But once we stop, we are unlikely to start up again. Security is suddenly far sweeter than enterprise. The sufferings of the ascent, so long endured by insuppressible aspiration, suddenly seem pointless.
―Robert Grudin, The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation
So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.
It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.
Having spent a long time in open spaces, whether sea or desert, it is a luxury to be able to take refuge in towns with narrow streets which provide a fragile fortress against the assaults of the infinite. There is such a sense of security against the boundless there, even if the murmur of the wave or the silence of the sands still pursue one through tortuous corridors. The winds, despite their subtle spirits, are themselves lost in the vestibules of this labyrinth and, unable to find a way through, whistle and turn in turbulence like demented dervishes. They will not break through the walls of this den in which life still pulsates in the shadows of humanity’s black sun.
― Georges Limbour