Custodians and counselors

I always wondered whether cave men would sit in front of their fire and think, “What is the meaning of my life?” I’m guessing most of their life revolved around survival. Sure, they had rituals and symbolic gestures. But would they ever sit around and think: This is just a big routine of survival; there must be something more.

Part of me thinks we’re not too different from them. The way we survive is a bit different, but we have to learn, adapt and act in order to feed ourselves. But I guess the bigger question is: Why do we do most of the things we do? How do we feel self-worth?

I’ve been constantly amazed by the insights I’ve gained from “Downton Abbey,” and one of those insights is the meaning the servants tease out of their lives. They have roles and they take pride in performing those roles; they find that it’s part of a bigger purpose — the purpose of maintaining the estate, but also maintaining the people of the estate. I wonder if it’s a big metaphor for the world, where we are essentially custodians and counselors. But the longing question throughout the show is: Why is this estate so important anyway?

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