Life is about the journey, not the destination. It’s a quote used for self-help, mindfulness, and as a pick-me-up if you don’t accomplish a goal; it’s been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (among others); artists from Miley to Aerosmith have sung about it; it’s on every millennial Pinterest board titled “Quotes To Live By.” Overused though it may be, when it comes down to it, it’s a simple platitude that many seekers of “meaning” have found to be true.
Life is indeed about the journey. The funny thing — the ultimate cosmic joke — is that we won’t truly understand that until we’ve taken the journey. I know what you may be thinking, but this is not useless babble about “living in the moment,” or hackneyed advice on “enjoying the ride”… as long as we commit to identifying and defining the meaning contained within the phrase.
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
— Andy Bernard (Ed Helms), The Office
Search for the Holy Grail
There is a French poem by Cretien — a mythical tale of a boy named Parsifal and his search for the Holy Grail. Our hero, Parsifal, sets out on a great quest, leaving his home and all he knows behind. Soon he comes to discover what it means to be an adult, to fall in love, to experience radical emotions, to take on enormous responsibility.
Rather quickly Parsifal finds himself at the Grail Castle and meets the King. He had been instructed by a mentor, Gournamond, to ask an important question when he found the Castle: “Whom does the Grail serve?” Doing this would save the entire kingdom from poverty and despair and fulfill Parsifal of all he had ever hoped and dreamed. However, Parsifal fails to do this, leaves, and the Castle disappears.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
Knowing he has failed, Parsifal sets out to find the castle again. The journey is long, arduous, and takes many years. Along the way, he’s confronted by…