Each Monday, Julio Vincent Gambuto presents “Modern Muting” — a weekly Medium story series dedicated to helping readers step back from all the bullshit of modern life, create quiet, re-evaluate, then go forward boldly. It’s 500 words a week of “self-help meets the system.”
Of all the noise of modern life, there is perhaps nothing that hits at our core more than the never-ending conversation about purpose. It pushes the sensitive buttons of our insecurities and lights up our inner — and very chatty — philosopher like no other word. Countless thought leaders make the hunt for it their circular gospel: once you find your purpose, you will align with the universe and suddenly find happiness, meaning, and joy.
Mmmm, I’m not sure about that. There is a lot misguided about this line of thinking. Not only is it a function of extreme privilege — to have the time, resources, and comfort to ponder the point of it all — but it traps us in an infinite loop of analysis and self-monitoring. Am I there yet? Did I find it? Is this “it”? A dance teacher told me once, “You can’t dance and watch yourself dance (in the mirror) at the same time. Pick one. I promise you’ll enjoy dancing more.”
I am reminded of my 20-something need to travel abroad to find myself. I had been awash in this type of talk for years. Marry that with my incredible envy of all the wealthy kids who got to travel or study in Europe for weeks at a time, months, or semesters. The combination was a recipe for heartache — all from a simple call: you, young person, have to go find something — out there — and that something is you. But I have me. I am me. No, you are out there somewhere else. You must be encountered and found, released, as if You is hiding around an ornate lamppost in the 14th arrondissement or trapped in a dark basement in the Netherlands.
Be a plant. Remember that you are a natural being. A plant just needs water and sunlight and it will grow into whatever it is meant to grow into.
It isn’t so much the “myself” or the “purpose” that troubles me in the downpour of this type of modern speak. It’s the “find” part. The chase. The search. The pursuit. And the natural…