Between Virtue and Mortality: Of This Shadow We Have Known
With age comes experiential wisdom and, we hope, a certain jading when it comes to living a right life. Where once we surprised, now we are prepared; where once we were astonished, now we are bemused.
“It goes on…” is likely the best takeaway motto the elders among us have vested in the current lifetime. Life is circular and repetitive and expectation grows dark and deep as uncertainty continually erupts to corrupt the circle.
We yearn to be virtuous against our impending and inevitable ending, and in that shadow between first bursting and the final shovel is the test of our lives. Have we behaved ethically? Were we in this world just for ourselves? Did we, in some way, serve the others among us without an expectation of a return on our investment?
Many of us try to color living into separate camps of black and white and truth and the lie — but the longer we slog through the hollow — the more we become attuned to the gradients of grey that smudge every issue around us.
Is it possible to live virtuously in a modern life where public relations and politics and spinning the truth are pastimes that entertain the madding crowd?
The cowardly are more of a disastrous infection than we think. Instead of acting cautiously and with care, the cowardly purposefully react against the common good — pushing only their vested interests and preservation of the self.
The cowardly do not care about vision or the future or of preserving what’s great for those who fall after us. The cowardly are voracious consumers who want to leave nothing behind but pilled pockets, white bones, and a scorched earth.
The virtuous and the coward can never exist in the same space, but they are forced into an identical vacuum where a void is created between the two bound by intention and desire. There is no way to cross the crevasse and that is the lesson the virtuous often fail to learn: Virtue too easily becomes cowardice while the coward can never become virtuous.
We know the virtuous and the cowardly by their deeds, actions and observations. Real world moral tinctures create compression on the mind and body that bends and, oftentimes, breaks us all. How we recover from a shattering is the emotional deed that binds the body to the mind and assails us into eternity.