We are alive because we move. If you want something to die, let it be alone, static. This applies the same with songs, birds & alphabets. This idea did not come from me, by the way. It is the comment with which Jorge Drexler ends his song “Movimiento”. It is an exceptional piece of poetry put to music by this singer / songwriter, that basically states that we as a species have existed millennia curious about what lies ahead, which leads us to follow the horizon, and in constant movement forge endless paths of discovery. We have covered so much ground for so long that, as he mentions, we are not as a whole from anywhere in particular, and at the same time we are a little bit from everywhere. I find it to be a profound idea.
Another idea that I have been reading and listening about a lot all last week has been the one that describes what meaning is to each one of us. It takes me back to my middle and high school years where we had to read the Greek mythology classics and ponder on concepts like those of heroes and life as a tragedy. I was too young or immature for that level of pondering when I was asked to do it, by the way, and the humanities were not near the top of my interests back then. I have come to realize that decades later – and I hope it happens to us all – when these topics come back to our sphere of information or awareness, and we go back and think about them in the context of our experiences and our life story, we get to understand the common threads that connect our thoughts, fears, pursuits and emotions with those of the people that codified these classic stories for us thousands of years ago.
Wrapping my head around both ideas, it becomes clear to me that since we as humans gained consciousness – what sets us apart from the rest of all living creatures – we survived and thrived because of our entrepreneurial instincts, that turned into pursuits as we found meaning in our actions. The world is dangerous, full of peril, and our time here is limited. To top that off, malice exists out there – which makes the whole scenario sort of a tragic one. Nevertheless, we have thrived because at some point along the way a few thousand years ago we realized that our environment was not “complete”. We had things that needed to be done, or finished. We realized we had the power to take all of the chaos of this tragic existence around us and transform it through our entrepreneurial endeavors into something that was orderly. We set up rules and systems, and organized things and prospered. We lost ourselves in these pursuits and that took us away from the daily concerns of the dangers and malice around us. Thereby, we found meaning. We found meaning in what we did, initially as individuals, benefiting our family, then our tribe, and eventually society in the more general sense. We transformed societies around the world, and we got to where we are now, and continue to move.
Yes, movement is what has been the constant in this entrepreneurial storyline of our civilization – and the realization that we were set free to put order into chaos, to build, to transcend our mortal humanity. Those who did not move, dwindled, perished – and were forgotten. It has taken a very long time, and the individual life stories of billions of people to get here. I have a couple of books I re-read every couple of years that estimate that only 5% of all human beings that have ever existed have truly lived in a free society as we understand it today – and luckily that includes you, us. Let’s continue to pursue what gives meaning to our lives, and let’s keep the pace of innovation and accumulation of knowledge and prosperity to pass on to our descendants the reason why we are here and we do what we do. Let’s continue to be the entrepreneurs we were created to be.