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No, this is not a remake of Chaplin’s famous movie, nor a remake of a Jacques Tati’s movie. But this photograph, which was taken in Seoul, South-Korea, reminds me of the absurdity of the rhythm of modern life.
The sense of belonging employees have to the corporation they are working for is especially – but not exclusively – rooted in the culture of East Asia, and this sense of belonging is often stronger than their own individuality. Just like in this image where we can see people running, and their faces – or their identity, their free will – are not seen. People seem to be constantly running, from morning to evening, if not from birth to death.
This act of running is like a shadow of an old teaching of Eastern wisdom which says that the the most important thing is the way and not the actual results of our actions. Placed in its original context – an Indian scripture called the “Bhagavad Gita” – it means that one has to be in constant movement, to be in action, and this movement itself, is the meaning of life.
Imagine trying to reach perfection. It’s impossible, since no living creature is perfect. But we can try, every day, to move closer to an ideal of perfection.
The Way brings us closer to discovering the purpose of life, which begins in the knowledge of one’s true nature. Who are we? What is our destiny? Do we have a purpose to fulfil?
Nobody guarantees an answer, but walking the way is often enough to give meaning to all our experiences, from birth to death. It is about doing, but doing with a purpose instead of fading slowly into the nonsense of modern life. We learn from every experience, every movement, every error, and our identity gets clearer, more present and stronger every time.
Running and fading away only leave us with the option of survival.
Moving every day with a purpose makes us more alive.