A while back I posted about what I called the Inspirational Imperative; the pressure to craft suffering and distress and setbacks into more-easily-digestible, feelgood stories of “inspiration.”
The need to be “inspirational” can become like the “the success-failure whiplash”, wherein our identities become caught up in how inspirational and positive we can be.
An addiction, not unlike that to being busy or being responsible for others’ pain.
“The pilgrimage is not all plain sailing, not all peak experience.” Hype breeds disillusion. Most of all, our own internal hype, one that is pumped up and primed and built up by technology and our media-saturated lives – but is also something perpetual in human life.
We reach for quick fixes, practice solutionism, search for the new New Thing.
We are continually being asked, “what then?”:
His chosen comrades thought at school
He must grow a famous man;
He thought the same and lived by rule,
All his twenties crammed with toil;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘What then?’
Everything he wrote was read,
After certain years he won
Sufficient money for his need,
Friends that have been friends indeed;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘ What then?’
All his happier dreams came true —
A small old house, wife, daughter, son,
Grounds where plum and cabbage grew,
poets and Wits about him drew;
‘What then.?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘What then?’
The work is done,’ grown old he thought,
‘According to my boyish plan;
Let the fools rage, I swerved in naught,
Something to perfection brought’;
But louder sang that ghost, ‘What then?’
When the viral video’s hits have plateaued, when the few seconds rush of Inspiration is gone, when any “success” has been achieved, there is always a “what then?”
I’ll end this post by simply saying that we all have our own Plato’s Ghost. But who is yours?