Responsibility and necessity

Society bears down with a crushing weight of responsibility, while the wild bears down with the weight of necessity. The consequence of failure in the first circumstance may be destitution and disgrace, while failure in the second punishes with extinction and death. Going alone then into the wild relieves for a moment the first and lesser burden, in exchange for the thrill and challenge of a more base and primal threat. When we return from wild places alive, and mostly intact, our perspective is changed and temporarily revised; for what threat really is any office censure, any mere social disgrace; an embarrassing fumble of etiquette; or even failure in love or enterprise compared with what we’ve just met and mastered? The more consequent danger is now passed, and we move on through the day with a contented grace, having brought back a hidden trophy and prize in the simple fact of our survival. But this peace is perishable, requiring refresh at regular intervals lest we again mistake the civilized challenge of responsibility with the wild threat of necessity.


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