Snake Surly had a bit on her blog that looked like a quote, but without an attribution. It was deep, and it didn't sound like her writing (but not because it was deep because her writing is deep at times). I had a comment on it which, on reflection, I wanted to expand upon (in my most self-indulgent prose). My comment was:
I think we all have great internal conflict, at least those of us who are self-aware, and these conflicts drive us by providing a palpable difference between our percieved state and our desired state. To the end, these conflicts remain irreconcilable, unless we give up and give in. Sometimes the fickle winds of conflict drive us off course, and sometimes they push us fast to our true destination.I felt the metaphor of the wind driving us needed a lot more work so now I write:
We are as sailing ships, launched onto the sea by our parents, for as we leave home we experience for the first time the endless possibilities of where to take our lives, and the uncertain feelings of the moving seas beneath us. So we sail about, aimlessly at first, then with purpose as we spy a destination in the distance. (Some lost ships sail aimlessly forever, never lifting their gaze from the froth at the bow splashing against the breasts of the figurehead.)
As we ply the seas we feel the winds aginst our sails. Some of us have very large sails indeed, woven of intellect and creativity. Those ships can go far and fast. Some of us have very stout rudders, forged from discipline and determination. Those ships can sail straight on course. Some ships have large sails and weak rudders; it is very hard for them to maintain their course and they tend to drift when the winds blow. Worse is to have a stout rudder and diminutive sails for these ships cannot go where others may, no matter what the captain or crew wants.
When we sail to the regular ports of call all is well; we know the straights and shoals and we come to rest at our berth with ease. New destinations are harder to find and we may hit a sandbar or a rocky bottom on our adventure. Running aground is best avoided by prudence, not happenstance, and our safe return depends on it. When the sounding tells us that we are about to run aground it is wise to decisively correct our course.
Our crew depends on us for their very survival and to some extent their prosperity. We owe it to them to have stout rudders and good sails. When we deliver our crew to their adventure and fortune, they may say as much as "good ship" if we're lucky. But cursed (literally) is the ship that fails its crew.