Meditation of contingency and the permanent Self.
Life runs so quickly. We try to control or direct it and we cannot guide the whole thing unless we know the central point. We are like puppets whose strings are a-tangle, and we don't know which one to pull to draw all the other strings up.
Only the grandeur of great art can temporarily stop the flow and awaken the reason to the light of eternal values. What else? In the normal run of life we awaken through the animal instincts only to survive and secure our person and engender children. Sex, security and society - and all else is expedient and subordinate to these grand and simple animal goals.
Natural law is binding. We say that it is law, but the privileges of natural law bind more powerfully than the responsibilities. The responsibilities of natural law are merely to survive and extend the possibility of society and family. But the privileges of a great and stable civilization far outweigh the mere burden of survival. We are bound by privilege to extend ourselves on the behalf of the entire society. It is as if our distinctness as a person grew a shadow and became reflective on itself.
Natural law obligates us to become involved in matters larger than ourselves, for which we ourselves are but ill-made. And were the worlds of many societies to flourish without us, we would also bear the burden of our non-involvment in the flow of life. Natural law demands we fulfill our capacity, no more or less.
We aspire towards a higher meaning - perhaps I should say, toward a Higher Meaning. Rainer Maria Rilke in one of his Duino Elegies spoke about how this higher meaning draws all the strings of ourselves up like the handle of a puppet, allowing the pile of sticks to become a dancing soul. He's right. We all locate without ourselves those forces which pull us together in the direction we judge to be most human and humane.
To what extent we can locate and pull ourselves up by this mysterious inner center, to that extent we have a beautiful, good and true life. A life of meaning and purpose can be found only within, and never without, since contingent conditions ultimately always change from person to person.