Back to Vancouver. Still beautiful, the city lights before dawn. It was 7 degrees below zero. It snowed 3 days ago. A taxi driver from India drove me home. I have never met a taxi driver at the Vancouver airport who is not from India. In Calgary they are all from Pakistan. Often an occupation in an area is controlled by people from a certain area. For these people of a certain regional and/or racial origin, it is also a fate they can hardly escape, due to lack of influence and connection in any other career. I realized this latter point yesterday when again a (this time underground because he is not licensed) driver from Hunan Province was driving me to Shenzhen Airport. We talked about it. He told me how hard it would be to start from scratch in a new field in which nobody you know could guide you with experience. There is also people’s inertia in play, but a cultural effect like this is an almost determining factor in the economy and in people’s lives. Again, people are not free to do things they have never heard of. And it takes great courage to go out of one’s “normal” way into a risky, unknown life.
A mediocre life does not necessarily have fewer troubles than a life devoted to the owner’s free will. At the same time, the quality of the troubles in a mediocre life is much lower; there is nothing epic, and there is no pride in conquering the troubles. The human mind can only be occupied with a certain number of troubles at a certain time in the order of their importance. Anything less will go to the “no big deal” pile. Since we only have one lifetime, wouldn’t you like to choose a life that is full of higher quality troubles?
In the deepest sense, even the most mediocre life still bears all the sorrow and hardship of the whole human history: sickness, aging, loss of loved ones, eventual end of one’s own life. It’s the same whichever way you choose to live your life. The difference is in the feelings: a cowardly and indifferent life will leave you and people around you cold and hopeless; a brave, dedicated life will give you and other people warmth and light. It’s the choice that matters. Since there is no escape, which way do I choose? Do I bring forth what’s in me, or do I let it die in me and let myself die with it?