Ten questions, but it’s no game
By Guy Shepherd

Life is more than just slowing down to ask questions...it's also taking a minute to answer them.

Ten questions, but it’s no game


Life's is just one damned thing after another...

...but all those things are questions. Here's one:

Where you going?

Just asking—and you should, too.

A Planned Man ought, on occasion, to slow down, pause, ask, answer, listen to the siren calls of truth and take a moment to make sure the alignment of his mind and his behavior are in proper sync.

What is a Planned Man?  A Planned Man knows where he is, where he needs to go and how to get there.

A Planned Man knows where he is, where he needs to go and how to get there.

Maybe you’ve been going through life too quickly, barely giving a thought to the 10 most important questions and that most vital quest.

Who are you?  How planned are you?  Are you more a free ranger, or are you a go-with-the-flow kind of guy? Where do you belong?  Where do you want to go?  Are you happy where you are in life?  Any more rungs of the ladder to climb? Describe in your head the ideal person you hope to be: can you find the place where you see him most fulfilled? How do you plan to get there? What is required?

Spoiler alert: The pursuit and possession of happiness requires some effort of mind and body—gray matter and grit is required. You can’t just go until you’re out of options.

But the good news is that this is not a circle-jerk philosophy class.  There are actual answers to these questions.  It’s not that hard.  Here is a first draft to consider: 

Let’s start with some Yoda-quality statements.

“In the beginning we find the end.”  To be a good man you need to have a serviceable understanding what a human being is—and then, specifically, what a human being with a penis is.

The most spot-on answers to the big questions have at core a shared recognition of a duality, of internal conflict, and an awareness of the paradoxes that run through the nature of our human impulses.  

Here are a couple more of my favorite attempts of capturing properly nuanced animal that is man:

“Man is born of mating and emerges as a screaming bundle of flesh.” Why am a fan of his one?  Kinda clears the deck for concrete thinking.  It’s the dawn of the common-sense origin of our species.  Sorry, Junior. No storks.  Neither are we fashioned of a handful of dust and the spittle of God.   After the first iteration of Adam and Eve and the Word becoming Flesh, the rest of the human family are the outcome of mating.  It pains me to say, but my Mom had sex at least five times. Even my four brothers are in on this family secret. It takes to two t0 create and to raise this screaming bundle of flesh into a productive, wealth-creating, tax-paying citizen of an advanced economy. We the people are products of individual love and devotion. This is the natural reasoning behind honoring your mother and father.  The wise man, the Planned Man, knows himself as a debtor.

Here is a more awe-inspiring conjugation of the nature and destiny of this screaming bundle of flesh:   

Man is a mix of the divine and animal.  “Neither Beast nor God.” And in-between, a party-of-one, alone-in-the-cosmos, creature called Man.  And to give Darwin his due:  This man born in the likeness of God is also made of monkey parts.  And the call of the monkey mix is strong in us.  Those who have their eye on the divine spark and forget the monkey, create a pious cruelty that lacks the humanity that we associate with our those whence we came.  

This is still a 30,000-foot view of humans. So let’s bring it down to earth.  How is the “in-betweener”  supposed to  act in relation to others similarly endowed?  Mano a manoWhat does a human being — neither Beast nor God — deserve?  

Cut to the chase. This is what is our due and our responsibility to make happen:

    • Self-Government is our intended capacity.  It’s our birthright.  Man’s pre-history is not our destiny.  
    • Nature and nature’s god, considered apart, do not create two classes of man—“natural masters or natural slaves.” We don’t see a chosen few who were not “born to ride” and the rest “born to be ridden.”
    • Self-government politically and the private governance of self is our created, self evident, unalienable, nature and our natural due.  This is the political anthropology of freedom at the foundation of the American experiment.   This is noble plan for a man and for a free people. This was the coded signal in the noise of human history. Mankind was made for better.  There is a better plan for man. And here it is. The End. 

So, I’m with Bono—that American Declaration of Independence is the new order of the age, the coin of the modern realm: 

Heads is equality. Man is born equal—this is the self-evident, unalienable truth—the Alpha and Omega—the first and last letter of human purpose.  And on tails, there is liberty—the means that in-between-folks use in public and private pursuit of self government and governance of the self.   Equal Men are Free Men.

Closing time take-away point:  Stop trying to govern other people and govern yourself instead. 

Pursue your own happiness.  Formulate a plan.  Before you do, read the fine print of the social contract.  You have the right to pursue happiness.  But catching it, attaining it—possessing it—is up to you. Take that simple rule to heart. It’s the secret to making it in a complex, pluralistic and free world.  If you want nice things, that is the way to attain them.  All other promises of progress are regress.

I think this is a good start.  But now I need to have a drink with a friend.

More to come.



To reach Guy Shepherd contact: [email protected]

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