Desperation

In his first essay, “Economy”, from Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau said “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” (1854) So what does desperation mean? What about those who have clearly identified their God-given gifts (where else could they come from?) and have found the niche to enable appropriate use of these gifts, thus establishing a satisfying life for both the gifted and those who are recipients of these gifts. End of story? Not by a long shot. What about the rest of us? You know, the ones who are good at a few things but don’t seem too focus too well. Or can’t give up two or three of their efforts to choose one abandoning all else. Would it be abandonment? Would those gifts go unused? And what about what C. S. Lewis said nearly 100 years later in Mere Christianity: “God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.” (1952) Some atheists may disagree, saying they evolved from that speck of dust, or this piece of seaweed. But even that speck of dust, that piece of seaweed came from Someone. Nothing just happens. So is desperation emptiness? Is it a running away from something? or a frantic running toward something? A constant seeking, never finding, or just the fear of never finding? Or is it just plain fear?

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