Each one of us is like many others yet each one is unique. We belong to a group and yet are individuals, alone in the perspectives our minds and experiences create. Some of us are more able to understand the perspectives of others and can empathize; some of us are too caught up in ourselves to give much thought to others.
No matter which, we are susceptible to loneliness--extreme, excruciating introspection such that we feel isolated from all others.
Then is when we contemplate the ultimate question--WHY?
It is the question that religions and philosophies have grappled to no ultimate answer. Are we the playthings of a God or gods, or merely organized space dust? Why are we here? Why bother to continue living? What more is there? What difference do I make?
Some think they have it figured out and may be happy in their delusions. Often these folks belong to a collective that all think they have it figured out and thus are less likely to fall into the grave despair of loneliness.
Others know that they do not know and can spiral into the deepest darkness as they either give up caring for themselves or indulge themselves to excess in an attempt to quiet that evil question, "Why?"
In the philosophy and practice of law we learn that this is a dangerous question. "Why?" leaves open too many potential answers. It is a question we do not always know how a witness will answer while testifying and the response could destroy our case.
So, we tend to ask “who?”, “what?”, “when?”, and “where?” in order to try and get the jury to figure out the "why?" in a way that benefits our side. We can suggest the motive, but if the witness blurts out the motive, the jury need not grapple with it.
If we all knew the answer to the ultimate question of life, we would not need to endure life. We would realize that the answer is reached and would stop striving to reach it. Our journey is not unlike a deliberating jury attempting to figure out a winner and a loser.
If we give up on our pursuit of the answer we are giving up on all our potential. We will stop growing as a species. We will not explore, not wonder, not care. We will not win and we will not lose. We will only stagnate.
Lawyers are very susceptible to loneliness. We are problem solvers and despise unanswerable questions. In our lonely search for the truth we can alienate others and even alienate ourselves from ourselves. We start to feel powerless and fearful. We start to wonder whether it is worth going on, waking up, fighting another day. We dread the tasks at hand and wonder whether it is all worthwhile.
Some lawyers let the stress get to them and give in and give up--on the profession, on their health, and even on life. Victories become hollow and losses unbearable. Nothing quenches that desire for truth and for a sense of wanting to belong. Too many victories cause us to wonder what more there is and too many losses cause us to wonder, "what's the point?"
If we all knew the ultimate answer, would we have so much diversity? Would we have an exciting world? I doubt it. We would be much more alike because we would all know one single truth. We would then lose individualism. We would be so crowded and bored that life would be useless.
I theorize that individualism and unsolved puzzles are far more interesting and suspenseful than collective boredom. Earth, with its great diversity, is far more desirable than eternal sameness.
Mortality is far more rewarding than immortality. Mortality gives us art and beauty. Death gives us rebirth. Eternity gives us nothing but cyclical boredom.
So, I say, find joy in your individualism and your particular daily struggle. Keep pondering "why?" but do not let it consume you. Quit worrying about belonging and start thinking about adding value to your life and those of others. Once you stop thinking about loneliness you stop being lonely. Once you stop worrying you stop worrying.
Fear is your friend, not your enemy. If you allow fear of the unknowable to eat you, you shall miss out on much. If you allow fear of the unknowable to deepen and broaden your perspective, you shall delight in the mystery and fear will transform from fear for self to fear for all.
As you expand your perspective, you shall stop feeling tiny and start feeling useful, self-actualized. "Why?" is not evil, it IS your reason for living. You are the protagonist of your story. You are the jury that determines your success. You can fail. Survival after failure provides far more interesting stories and insights than succumbing to failure. Winning teaches less than losing. Adversity teaches more than ease. Harshness builds more character than indulgence.
I started by saying that we are all alone in our individual perspectives. I challenge you to perceive life henceforth as an amusing mystery filled with beauty and awe that you can contribute to and enjoy. Erase the perceptions of oppressive loneliness and realize we are all alone and all wonderful and all complex and all worth knowing and all worth helping and all worth learning from.
The diversity is exciting and belonging erases more potential than recognizing individualism. Group think produces less than individual thought. Collaboration is great so long as it is comprised of individuals--not clones and sycophants.
Again, I challenge you to embrace your uniqueness and channel it towards production and exploration instead of into introspective, lonely, despair.Las Vegas attorney Anthony M. Wright can be reached at (702) 809-6904. You may also reach your Las Vegas lawyer by Emailing me.