Today, like most days, I just wanted to eat unhealthy food, read some articles on the internet, go back to bed for a while, get up again, eat again and read some more random articles. While doing this, there was a constant nagging voice in my head telling me that I should be doing something more than this: I should be learning something, helping someone, raising children or I should at least be in the company of others rather than luxuriating in my splendid isolation.
I find it impossible to decide what is best: should I simply follow my inclinations and live like some clever ape in his comfortable, modern primate heaven, with its constant supply of food and warmth and entertainment and its lack of dangerous predators and challenges? Or should I instead sit down and think what the nagging voice is trying to tell me? Maybe it’s saying that I should become a warrior for some cause, or become a real man like in the old days rather than some effete modern? Or maybe it’s saying I should do something so at the end of my life I can at least feel that I have achieved something. But what? Should I be trying to change the world or just change myself? Or neither? How can you tell?
And maybe this voice isn’t telling me anything at all. Perhaps this constant feeling of a vague dissatisfaction is just a part of the human condition and something even Edmund Hilary, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill experienced, even as they were climbing Mount Everest, imagining riding on a sunbeam and planning a war strategy against the Germans.
Yet if it really is saying something, I suppose it must be something like this: ‘You only have three score years and ten on this earth and to squander them in what is basically a comfortable retirement flat is not good. Alexander the Great led a fuller, more satisfying, though less comfortable, life than you.’
Is the voice right? I suspect so….Now where are those tea and biscuits?