Monday, April 15, 2013

The Canyon of Excuses

I newly heard an old tale today. It is about the Canyon of Excuses.

It is old, because the canyon had existed since the beginning of humanity. It sounds new, because most of us think of it as "the pit of harsh reality" or as some of us like to call it "the valley of perpetual unfairness." It is a canyon that has been passed by many travelers, some earlier than they were meant to. It is a place many travelers have fell into in the past and perished. Some have even never dared crossing it. (Un)lucky for us, the part of humanity that lives in developed countries can find the means to survive in the canyon, at the cost of only our dreams. At least, we get to keep our lives. Isn't that a good thing?

This is typically how the old story goes... New humans appear in the peaceful, but somewhat limited "Land of No Responsibility". In this land things are always simple and are full of guides and laws for every little thing. It sounds like the best place to be. However, as time goes on, humans get bored, as they generally do and start to have dreams of something more. At this point they are told of this land far and away where their dreams can come true. In fact, people from that land show up often in No Responsibility to tell everyone how they have managed to achieve their dreams. As with everything in this land, a path is also laid out to get to where this promised land is. Driven by dreams, or through sheer boredom, or perhaps driven by their ego, humans set off on this long journey to the promised land.

Things start to get very difficult for the young humans as they leave the land of No Responsibility. There are less and less guides and they are required to do more and more things on their own. Some of them manage to drag the guides along so that they can have everything taken care of along the way. The guides can go only so far though. And soon the humans find themselves on their own and having to rely on each other, if anyone at all.

The path eventually ends at an interesting place. In front of them in the distance the humans can see the wonderful land that they were promised. However the land looks devoid of any guides. As far the eyes can see, it is full of humans who are making their own efforts to take care of all their needs. And they look remarkable. Some of them appear to be creating food out of thin air. Some of them are dressed in clothes that were unimaginable in the land the young humans left behind. Some even appear to be creating buildings from the ground by just thinking about them. All appearing to be extraordinary, so much, that the young humans conclude that all those powerful humans were just lucky to be born with talents like that.

To add to their discouragement, there is a huge canyon in front of them. In order to reach the promised "Land of Maturity" they would have to jump over this canyon. Of course, many of them conclude, only talented and special individuals can achieve their dreams in that land. Some of the crazy humans do not wait. Leaving their guides and everything else behind, they run towards the canyon and jump, landing awkwardly on the other side, hurting themselves somewhat in the process. The "smarter" humans decide to examine the canyon. And even "smarter" ones, decide to turn around and go back.

The ones examining the canyon eventually discover that it also has humans down in it, some of whom even have guides with them. Its true that the guides look worn out but at least it is a familiar sight. And they seem to be not doing incredible tasks like the ones in the promised land. Some of them even call the young humans to come down into it. "Don't go to the promised land yet" they say, "You won't be able to handle it. Come down here where its safer." A lot of youngsters feel that the humans in the canyon just read their minds, and decide to go down there. A lot of them try to deny it and try a weak jump and fall into the canyon anyway.

The orientation is quite brief. It is very comfortable in the Canyon of Excuses. It is painful and dull but at least it is a comfortable kind of pain. And it is not like they are not planning to go into the land of Maturity eventually, once they are fit enough, thin enough, tall enough, smart enough, or get lucky with a superpower, they will climb back up. But until then, the canyon is comfortable. And it is comfortable for many for their whole lives.

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