Clarity in purpose

The instinctual allure of clarity in purpose can lift the spirit to the pinnacles of human achievement or drop the soul into a pitiless hell, never hinting which direction until arrival. And maybe the direction doesn’t matter; maybe they represent identical experiences come full circle in life’s continuum.

War, in my opinion, is life’s clearest example of clarity in purpose, and examples are rife of fighting men and women climbing or falling down their unchosen paths. Despite the best efforts of political hacks and wonks of all persuasions in explaining away natural behavior, war in its purest form of evolved design alters the contrived complexity of everyday existence in the flash of a neuron:

Kill or be killed.

Straight-line logic, no explanation required, just the acts of a millisecond experienced in a place where time has no meaning. Purely honest, deeply and soulfully known: horrific, beautiful, simple – in a word, real.

How or why one arrives at this point is absolutely irrelevant, morality becomes dismissively quaint, time is meaningless, and millions of years of nature’s honing sharpen survival’s lance.

The moment ends as if never existing, and with crushing convention the weight of life’s rules and games creep and claw their return in full effect. But war is certainly not the only place to find such clarity in purpose. Myriad experiences might serve as host.

But one type of vehicle to arrive at clarity in purpose is different from all the others in basic substance: that which is chosen. The choice to search for laser-specific purpose might still come through war (mercenaries, lifer combat addicts, etc…), but also via venues of high adventure. To choose to go to this place, assuming any sense of what is being truly risked, might just explain one of the most enigmatic questions of why “extreme addict” climb the mountain, dive the dive, or jump the cliff.

Maybe it’s because, despite societies best efforts to put premium value on the complex and contrived, it is really the simple that we seek; the binary answer immediately, decisively, and unapologetic offered – kill or be killed; survive or die.

There is a word, one word that does justice to the instantaneous liberation and subjugation of the binary challenge – powerful. Perhaps so many misguided titans of industry have it backward: they seek power to determine the clarity of purpose, while it is really the other way around.

In the end, for those searching for answers, nouns – like “power” – won’t do the trick; they miss the point entirely. In my opinion, it is the adjectives, such as “powerful,” and used only in a description other than to one’s silly physical abilities, that might just steer us in the right direction.


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