Saturday, October 5, 2019

Why people keep going

Lost causes.

After doing something to find something--a cure, a treasure, an answer, a hope--and getting nowhere--(how many dashes are okay?) what makes people continue?

Einstein said something about doing something over and over the same way and not getting what you want is idiocy. That's paraphrased, to be sure, and I am not even sure it was Einstein who said it, but, well, it makes sense.

Finding the Loch Ness Monster, for instance. I've seen four different programs on television this week, four different groups of people, scouring the lake for signs of this huge prehistoric animal and finding nothing.  Thousands of dollars down the drain, searching for a legend. They find nothing, yet they keep going back to Scotland with hope.

The treasure of Oak Island...another search. Yes, they try different holes, different methods, star charts, high tech satellite photographs, you name it, they've tried it to find treasure. It's been about ten years of this particular team, the Laginas, who have poured money into this venture. So far, they've found a few coins and a lead cross and a crossbow bolt, a couple of semi-precious jewels...but not this huge treasure. The treasure of the Templars and maybe precious first editions of Shakespeare's works...maybe buried somewhere on a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia. Okay, they drill and dig and use every conceivable scientific and geologic method to search for wonders beyond price. 

They've got nothing much so far but a fun television show.

Yet they go on and on, searching, hoping, digging, making television shows. This is 21st century stuff. It has happened all throughout history. Columbus. Ponce deLeon. Name any explorer, any alchemist, anyone who hoped to discover something, anything, that would stop that itch they have to keep going.

Sometimes, an individual does find something of value. Schleimann found Troy. Salk found a cure for polio. There is a huge list of successes, but probably an even bigger list of failures.

Yet, they go on. They keep trolling Loch Ness. The Laginas keep digging on Oak Island. They don't give up.

There may be something more than grace in continuing. But there may be grace also in realizing that the quest is over and giving up.

I am not telling anyone to give up searching, to stop hoping to find a cure, a treasure, a reality (UFOs and Bigfoot), but there has to come a time when either the questions are all answered, or you just plain throw in the towel.

One day, that one day when the decision is made, or the treasure is located, or the monster comes up and bites you on the butt, well, I guess there is always the chance that it may happen, so, okay, you have to keep on trying.

Albert, even you had to keep on going. Scientists and mathematicians and explorers are still trying to prove your ideas. 

Never give up, never surrender!