What does drive us? What does get us out of the bed in the morning and take care of our duties? Would it be only out of necessity? Is it a matter of physical subsistence? “Give us this day our daily bread” of the prayer taught by our parents in gratitude regardless the religion that we profess or not. The stomach which growls… The hungry that makes us as beings of flesh and blood we are to put up a fight and to quench our appetites…, our needs given our circumstances. Is that all?
This malaise compelling us towards quench our appetites and desires is transcendental and full of significance. That what makes us want more, whatever it is, food, shelter, sex, love, friendship, knowledge, recognition, self-satisfaction… Since the world is the world, we want more. It is a fundamental part our essence as living beings and what makes us humans. Many have elaborated this driving force of appetites and desires which we carry in our interior as the impetus that the creator has blessed us to go beyond and to push us all the way back to his perfection. The stimulus of uneasiness which pushes us towards God’s perfection heart arching until we rest rescued in the heart of the divine.
It was Leibniz, giving dynamic to the passive conception of Locke’s uneasiness, who understood the uneasiness as a fundamental characteristic of human psychology moved away from religious realm. For Leibniz, this feeling of wanting more, of overcoming our limits, of pursuing something better for ourselves, and who surrounding us, is such a slight itch which does not go away. Much as our appetites are pleased, the uneasiness is always there, insatiable as the unrest movement of the pendulum of the clock which goes on in its endless clockwork. “The uneasiness would be essentially the happiness of creators” according the German mathematician and philosopher.
The tension applied on the common thread of our lives. What moves us forward in our search for meaning as stated by Viktor Frankl. What projects us towards what one still ought to build and accomplish. What has not yet been realized in full potential, but is in the realm of the possible. Proceeding in the search for meaning bring us often internal disequilibrium, tension… The uneasiness which takes us away the balance, but that pushes us forward making the next step possible and we can keep walking through the path of life. And concludes, Viktor: “what man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task”.
This is the quintessence of the human spirit whatever the circumstances are… This afternoon whilst I wrote this article, I stumbled in a story of The Economist elucidating some facts about migration across the Mediterranean in reference the death of more than 700 refugees in the Strait of Sicily in the last weekend. One of the questions of the article, probably resulted of the perplexity of some readers with the unthinkable of the situation of a 20-metre wooden boat packed with approx. 800 persons in its deck and hold, was why those persons take the chances of embarking on such awful journey, putting their lives in dangerous. As if they lack rationality… The obvious response was to clarify the inhuman and terrible conditions to which they are exposed in Libya, country of origin of most of the victims, amidst sectarian wars, oppression, civil disorder and extreme poverty. In such conditions, a father or a mother can come to the conclusion, perfectly reasonable in accordance with the above mentioned, that is worth fighting for a better life. Take their chances for a breath of hope whatsoever to migrate and to provide a future for their children. The opportunity of being someone… Stay and wait, perhaps, is more degrading of human condition rather dye trying in a fragile wooden boat at sea. It would deny what makes us very human… of those “who have a why to live for can bear almost any how” as Nietzsche once said.
And human history is made of apparently desperate gestures such as this, but that reveals the greatness of human spirit. The human capacity for resilience, even under daunting conditions of misery and oppression and the courage to cross seas and oceans, if it is necessary, in searching for a better life. Thousand, I would say tens of millions, throughout history have sacrificed themselves for what today our perplexity can’t reach and what many take for granted: the value of human life.
Photo credits: http://www.corbisimages.com/images
 Encyclopedia of Enlightenment by Michel Delon