How easy it is to ride another's horse, to throw in your lot with widely-held assumptions or assertions, to hitch your star to the applause or catcalls of the moment and then burnish your own standing within that framework.
For example, each morning I read various news wires and can, as I have sometimes chosen, assert my own standing and status by regurgitating someone else's tale and then putting my own written observations on top. It's a cheap date, a socially-acceptable date, a mediocre date. It may be forgiven, in one sense, because human beings are 'social' creatures and the warmth is warming, but, more than the suspicion that it is a whore's life, I also think it poses a danger worth facing.
Without the willingness to examine the ocean from which the waves arise, doesn't anyone run the risk of living a second-hand life, a life secretly built on sand, an uncertain life? Everyone has an 'originality' that deserves more attention and fewer pretty clothes.
Two weeks ago, around here, the lights went out for 30 hours or so in the face of an early, gloppy snowfall. The disruptions to social intercourse, from driving to watching TV, were obvious. But there was a mind disruption as well. The assumption of electric power was challenged. Who are you and how do you fare without your assumptions agitated the mind. My younger son was cranky ... but I could hardly fault it, though I didn't much enjoy it. The loss of texting and other gadget-oriented life-support systems didn't hit me as it hit him, but I had to admit I was irritable and uncertain as my assumptions felt the rug pulled out from under them.
And in that uncertainty, I was forced to ask, "To what extent is my entire life built on similar assumptions, similar unexamined beliefs, similar second-hand structures? What are things like when the assumptions drop away?"
Writing cheap exegeses based on the tales others tell -- the 'news,' for example, or 'history' -- brushes my writer's hair in the wrong direction. It's like going on a date with a person who is willing rather than one who excites a sense of wonder. And yet coming up with my own honest stuff is increasingly tiring. I'd rather pay the hooker than get an honest date, live within the socially-acceptable assumptions (everybody's doing it, right?) than stand still and be honest.
It's a dangerous way to live, unfulfilling and constantly under threat -- to go with the flow and find solace without ever examining what it would be like to be free from such reliable fetters.
If the best anyone can do is go "eek!" every time life says "boo!" ... well, what sort of a life is that?