Willful Ignorance

What does any sane person do when faced with the choice between backtracking along a previously unsuccessful route and forging ahead into the dangerously unknown?

I wouldn't know. I have never met a sane person. 

That said, there are many of us who find ourselves faced, similarly, with depths far too deep to find footing and, recognizing our choices lie in a labor mired in defeat or an lesser labor, the stakes of which we cannot possibly comprehend, we elect to float upon the bitter deep and hope, perhaps by osmosis, to soak in enough knowledge or gather enough strength to brave the ocean before us. 

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It's hard to say how much of human conquest comes from wisdom and how much from stupidity, but the latter almost certainly boasts the lion's share. 

So many of us force ourselves through the head of a pin in hopes of glory. Some of us are chasing a better story. Some public acclaim. But all of us who let it ride betting on red know better. We're just hoping that, this time, good fortune beats out our miserable reason.

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Of course there's a price. There's always a price. We might get our story. We might get our acclaim. But the feeling we're chasing at the heart of it all is fickle and mercurial. What we really want is self worth. We want to be able to tell ourselves as we fall asleep that we took a chance and it paid off. That we tried in earnest, however foolhardy. And if we win the day and pat ourselves on the back, we get to sleep soundly -- until the itch to be more returns. It always returns. Because a person who's climbed the ragged edge of a mountain, flipped herself up on the ledge and avoided a splatted end, cannot find perpetual peace on that gained ground. Gravity and perspective will keep calling. Her choice becomes to ignore the call or to answer it. 

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There is an exhilaration to be had floating in unknown waters and climbing virgin cliffs -- so long as we do not contemplate the sharks and empty air below.