Franz Kafka: Dare to go your own way

Franz Kafka once said that paths are created by walking, but what exactly does that mean? Firstly, it means that we cannot tread paths as long as we stand still. Second, it means that when we walk, we leave a trail for others to follow.

"Paths are made by walking."

Franz Kafka

Let us now turn to the two aspects of this quote. The first is that we have to go in order to create a path. So we have to actively do something to create a path. If we just stay in one place, no path will be formed.

So it's important to get movement in your life. I'm sure we've all had periods in our lives where everything felt like it was in a continuous loop. You wake up, go to work, come home, eat something, then possibly do something small and then go to bed, only to do the same thing the next day. This rhythm lasts for weeks, if not months. And to break it, we have to change something. We have to stop standing in place and the first step (as already Lao Tzu made clear in the linked article).

Only when we get moving, and realize that there is more than just the daily grind, can we set out on a path.

Once pinned, never forgotten (:

The path that leads into the unknown holds great dangers, but also great rewards in the form of knowledge. Only when we dare to set out into the unknown can we obtain new information. After all, all new information comes from the endless chaos that surrounds us all. But, whether the information coming from this chaos is useful or harmful to us, we cannot know until we set out into the chaos. So it is up to us to face the dangers of the unknown and thus leave a path for others to follow more easily. It is also helpful, not to take life in and of itself too seriouslyas Alan Watts admonished. Or, in other words, to be able to laugh at his failures now and then.

Here we have already arrived at the second aspect, which is that when we go new ways, we leave a trace. Because just as we leave paths for others, we have also been provided with paths. These paths are found in the form of the society and culture that surrounds us.

With each journey someone ventures into the unknown or chaos, we learn a little bit about the possibilities we have. When such a journey is successful, the new information gained can be shared with others. Through this sharing of information, others can more easily enter the part of the unknown that has already been explored, and from there, venture further into the unknown.

Throughout history, mankind has succeeded in establishing a society that makes it easy for the individual to survive. All progress, whether in engineering, medicine, education, or any other field, has been based on individuals daring to venture into the unknown.

We today have the privilege to fall back on 300,000 years of human history. But probably our ancestors, before they were known as the species of homos, have already ventured journeys into the unknown. Regardless of how many millennia there are, we benefit greatly from it.

Just as we benefit from our ancestors, our descendants will benefit from our journeys into the unknown.

Isn't that an impressive thought?

The next time you feel like your life is stagnating, remember that Paths created by walking become. Try to bring a little movement into your everyday life and don't give up right away if it's a little slow at the beginning.

If you would like to learn more about existentialism then take a look at our Articles about existentialism over.

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