It is easy to go down, it’s up that’s hard
“It is easy to go down into hell; night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; but to climb back again, to retrace one’s steps to the upper air – there’s the rub, the task.”
There’s nothing like great literature to make a point about life. I think this is Virgil’s way of saying it sure is easier going down then up. With anything. But here’s the thing. No matter how far down you go, even to what feels like hell, 99% of the time you will have the chance to climb back out. Reaching the bottom simply defines the task yet to be done – to get back up to the ‘upper air.’
Now. It takes some strength of character, some attitude adjustments (you have to start believing you can do it), some acceptance of some pain/anxiety/discomfort along the way & some resilience to do it, but it can be done.
Dr. Jason Fox recently shared an idea called “oscillation” in which things, people included, oscillate in an infinite loop being tugged in different directions throughout the loop (making the oscillation in constant flux between symmetrical and asymmetrical movement, i.e., it wobbles).
Yes. It sounds dizzying. Yes. It is.
That said. Oscillation is a natural state between good & bad, better & worse, righter versus wronger.
That said. As a counter to the oscillation is the fact that all things, left to their own devices, will “irrevocably slide towards a state of maximum entropic dissemblance.” (Metamodernist Manifesto) . Therefore, unfortunately, gravity is ‘worse’. Conceptually this suggests ‘better’ (or ‘getting to upper air’) needs to exert some force greater than gravity to not only achieve lift off but to also maintain some velocity/momentum against natural gravity.
This all gets compounded in the oscillation. Assuming oscillation exists in the ‘infinity’ loop ‘better’ is at larger risk in downward loop sections as gravity, as gravity does, snatches momentum & drags it down.
It gets worse.
Ponder the dimensions of gravity:
- entropy (natural state to stagnate)
- attitudes (failure begets stronger belief of future failure)
- the natural order that there are more ways to fail than succeed (which is somewhat like a gamblers odds in Vegas).
“negative things are real enough to be managed, we are bad at predicting positive things for ourselves (even with the help and wisdom of others), and we all create our own spice in life that makes things work for us in our own way.”
This means fighting this gravity is:
- a desire for happiness (which most of us view in a misguided way)
- a desire for success (which most of us view in results/achievements rather than progress)
- a lack of desire to gamble with our Life (yet, no risk, no return).
That’s a depressing formula.
Despite natural gravity, 99% of us do not find Hell acceptable.
Despite all the depressing thoughts I just shared, 99% of us ‘get on with getting on.’
Despite having traversed our way into Hell, 99% of us will seek a way up & out of it to get to some upper air place.
Now. “Up” is a direction. Not a specific one, but a direction nonetheless. This is a really really important point. To borrow a Jason Fox line: “directionality is important.” Even moreso if you are in Hell and need to get out. Gravity can bring you to a shitload of Hell-like places if you are not careful. In fact. Sometimes when you get there you really aren’t sure exactly how you got there. It can happen thru a variety of incremental steps all the while you are on a seemingly natural oscillation between good and bad things. I say that because this means ‘retracing your steps’ is often not an alternative. In fact. I would suggest its a shitty alternative. The path that brought you to Hell, well, no longer exists. It has come and gone. The path out of Hell is, well, Up. This may sound nebulous, but better is better and progress is progress and up is up.
I will suggest “Hell” is metaphorically whatever you want it to be – complexity, disaster, crisis, stagnancy, ignorance, continuous failure, etc.
I will suggest Life has a habit of relentlessly testing us.
I will suggest gravity is against you. Yeah. Sorry about that. To fly you have to fight gravity. Kind of a good lesson to remember.
Going to Hell is easy. Getting to Heaven is hard. In other words. Going down is easy. It is Up that’s hard. Ponder. I would suggest if you don’t ponder you may find yourself residing in Hell.