Niagara will witness the passing of the human species…Such ceaselessness had its parallel in his own life…the inner demand to make something of himself…to swim upstream against formidable obstacles. – Fred Kaplan, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer
All right, one final Thought from this memorable book.
Niagara will witness the passing of the human species…
We still find this phrase thoughtful. For lack of a better phrase, it puts us humans in our place. Niagara Falls will be here after every single one of us is gone, something to think about when we are caught up in something we think is significant, because taken in that context it really isn’t. Nothing we do is. All of us are going to end up in the same coffin buried in the same ground. There is no escaping it.
the inner demand to make something of himself…
But then again, what we do is important because we all have an inner demand to do something and it’s this inner demand that makes what we do important to us, even if there are those for whom what we do is not important at all.
For example, there are a billion Chinese, as the saying goes, who don’t read The Thought for the Day, but it’s important to me to write it because this is what I feel needs to be said and if you’re a regular reader of this feature, it’s important to you to read it.
Lincoln had the inner demand to make something of himself…He had it in a measure most people do not, which is what made him president and why he will live down the ages.
We may not live down the ages, but each one of us has that inner demand to some extent. All of us have something we are meant to do with our lives and if we are going to look back on our time on this planet without regret, we best be doing it.
It doesn’t matter what it is, either. It only has to be important to you, something you are compelled to do by something inside you. Oftentimes this is what you went to bed at night dreaming of doing when you were a kid. When we were kids we wanted to be a radio announcer. Pretty bad, too. We tried in our 20’s for a few years, then got laid off, found ourselves out of the business and woke up the next morning and found we didn’t miss it. We had come to the end of our interest, freeing us to move on to writing.
Circumstantially, your example will be different. Intrinsically, it will be the same, however. It will come from deep inside you, your heart telling you what to do and your instincts telling you how to get there.
Our inner demands to make something of ourselves is what makes what we do important, despite the fact in a hundred years there will be all new people on this planet.