Why?

Especially these days, it seems that it’s really easy to ask the question, “why,” doesn’t it?

My wife and I have been watching the “Game of Thrones” series during our self-imposed, COVID 19, social distancing. One scene that seems very timely and stuck in my mind, was when Tyrion Lanaster (the dwarf, and the person I think is the main protagonist in the series), is about to be beheaded, and is sitting in his dungeon cell. His brother, Jaimie, comes to see him and they are just talking, about being kids together, and Tyrion tells his brother a story that he remembers about their cousin. Their cousin apparently would take a rock and smash these little beetles incessantly, almost compulsively. Tyrion was intrigued by his cousin’s behavior, and would simply watch him as he was smashing the beetles, trying to understand what it was that was compelling him to do it, over and over. 

I got the sense that Tyrion was comparing his own life to the lives of those little, unfortunate beetles, who had just happened into the path of his compulsive cousin. And, I got the further sense that Tyrion was comparing his cousin to the completely arbitrary and capricious gods, who amused themselves at the suffering of humanity, like his cousin did with the beetles.

These kinds of thoughts, questions, and feelings seem timely for us right now in our time. Are the the things that we are seeing happen in the world at large (e.g., COVID 19), or more specifically in our own lives, the result of some arbitrary, capricious God, having fun at humanity’s  expense?

Each of us has to answer that question for ourselves, but this COVID 19 outbreak has given all of us some time to reflect on such questions, and, maybe, its about time that we did.

The famous psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, nearly at the end of his life, wrote:

“Man positively needs general ideas and convictions that will give meaning to his life and enable him to find a place for himself in the universe. He can stand the most incredible hardships when he is convinced that they make sense; he is crushed when, on top of all his misfortunes, he has to admit that he is taking part in a a ‘tale told by an idiot.’”

Jung, C.G., Man and His Symbols.

As for me, I have been thinking about why it is that I do what I do in my legal career, and at my law firm.  I think (to paraphrase Dr. Jung) its put best as this: I have arrived at some general ideas and convictions that give meaning to my life, that enable me to find and know my place in the universe.

Over the next weeks, I bet that Tyrion Lanaster answers his questions in some way, hopefully by finding some meaning in his own life (I don’t want to spoil it for you, but Tyrion doesn’t lose his head!).

Take care of yourself, and if I can be of any help, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Bob Bottorff