The boy stumbles to a clearing where the sun shines against his back, rolling a long shadow across the ground. This dark figure startles him, for it lacks all the colour and vitality of what he thinks of himself, and appears to contort all his fine features. He dashes with eyes closed shut and finds himself against the side of a rocky boulder. He opens his eyes to discover that the shadow is now standing face to face with him. He runs again and the shadow matches his stride, no matter how fast he peddles his legs to evade. The sun and earth seem to conspire against him, creating out of what he believes he is a seeming caricature, a mockery of his true character. There is no sweetened flavour here in this thing, this creature without the blooming qualities which — he, again, believes — are inherent to his name.
Men praise ideas such as self-knowledge but in secret hide from the reality of it. No one wants to truly meet themselves as they are, in the piercing detail which the point of view of others would surely reveal. There are contradictions between one moment in the day and the next, where what is said or done here is now in diametric opposition to what is said or done there. In the same way as a man faints when the pain of suffering is too great, there exists also gentler cushions to protect us from more moderate forms of friction. They fill the spot between the contradictions in his behaviour, where the high-tolling values of his personality are buffered from the cold reality of his unsound behaviour. This is the nature in which a man’s measurement of himself is muffled and filtered to present only what he wants to see.
A roung peg in a square hole; he never fits. There is something missing and at the heart of it is a silenced feeling which he cannot voice. The whine sounds a single chord which colours the core of his heart and gut. “What is amiss?” he thinks to himself. There is not enough genuine feeling from morning toil to nightly rest. He lives atop a cloud, with feet never touching the ground. How could he think he would be able to muster genuine emotion when the connection to the root of his existence is missing? A man must know what he is before he can move a single step. The starting point in solving any conundrum is to begin from where you are. If a man ignores his shadow and, in fact, runs from it to believe instead what he has painted as a pretty picture of himself, he will go absolutely nowhere.
The genuine truth is that living a life which exceeds or falls short of reality is no life at all. The choice is between genuine contentment versus the titillating pleasures of momentary distraction. To desert the latter and journey back to the basics is often accompanied by a silly and fallacious feeling of having degraded one’s achievements as a personality of worth. In response to this a holy man will roar out a fit of laughter which compulses his entire body into an explosion which throws him off his seat and headfirst to the ground. The concussion he is awarded by this is well worth it, for the absurd nonsense which men of these modern times believe in so proudly, as they tout their image of self-worth onto the wall of sheer delusion, truly merits theatrical applause.
Good men know how to laugh at themselves; to poke fun at their weaknesses and emotional fickles. They are willing to take themselves less seriously every year and intuitively know that this is the only path towards releasing themselves from the cycles of unnecessary stress and drama. They happily traverse their inner landscape by walking backwards and dismantling the structures they have built about themselves throughout the years. They pardon others from debts they have internally held against them and in so doing free themselves from the weight of those heavy records. The chains do not break, but rather disappear to show, first of all, that they never existed at all. A man can smile humbly in the face of these imaginary tomes and giggles as he remembers all of the struggles this evasion of his shadow had caused.