Existence as an Inseparable Accursed Bond of Hope and Dread
By Edwin L. Young, PhD
When humans evolved, they did so with the ability to symbolize objects, relations, conditions, and existence. Symbolization of existence allowed humans to create reflections of their existence. The essential nature of this existence that humans invented was one of an inseparable bond of hope and dread. This bond, this dual nature of existence, became an eternal curse over the heads of the human species.
The conditions of the existence of human beings are twisted and each crook along life's way is cumulatively instilled in their life histories. Each crook retains in memory a trace of its pain and terror of its possible recurrence. The shadow of death capriciously appears to threaten humans with eminent cessation of life. The shadow is dread and dread is an inescapable shadow at life's side. Dread forever intermingles with Hope.
The vision of a future kindles and rekindles hope. The terror traces signal their impending resurgence when hope is kindling, dowsing its fire and vigor. The specter of termination and possibility of nothingness in death haunts hope with its every rekindling as well. Hope invests its energy in defiance of its enemy, dread. Hope struggles for life as it hangs suspended between its twin tormentors, terror and death. The mind strains in vain in search of a peace without terror and a credible belief in immortality.
Belief is life burrowing into a hole, safe from the terror and uncertainty of life and from the certainty of death. That hole becomes life buried alive. Hope searches for an alternative immortality, a way to perpetuate its existence among the living, even after nonexistence has stolen its life. Yet memory, ultimately and forever, retains dread and hope, wedded as in an inseparable accursed bond. Hope is the ultimate tragic hero of life.
A life has stages in coping with the tragic nature of existence. Its story must be told.
When I am seen in the morning, I will seem as a cinder burnt in the sunrise. When I am seen at noontide, I will seem as a dragon slayer, admired and despised. When I am seen as the sun sets, I will seem as a sage in surrender and serenity. When I am seen in the moonlight, I will seem as a Bluefish, dancing the deep.
Edwin is a 76 year old, retired, psychotherapist/institution reformer. His greatest satisfaction came from reforming many juvenile correctional institutions, a maximum security prison, a West Texas mental hospital, and the huge Job Corps in San Marcos, Texas. All in all there were thirteen institutions that he successfully reformed. In the last year of his PhD program, Edwin was one of the two PhD graduate students to be awarded the annual University Research Institute grant. His dissertation committee said his was the longest, best, and most complex in the history of the department. Since retiring, Edwin spends his time writing. His site is: The Natural Systems Institute.