Life is a four-dimensional process. We exist in space and move forward in time. To all our appearances, it only moves forward. Our perception of time is the successive layering of memories, some strong, some weak, all altered both at the moment of apprehension and in the processes of memory over time.

Italy 3104 Apollo 5378415112
Photo Credit: The Apollo Belvedere (Beautiful to See), Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

But we are bombarded by two-dimensional imagery or sequences so short that they are effectively the same. Beginning in the mid-Twentieth Century, advertising slowly subverted our perception of time by deluging us with a never-ending stream of stimulating imagery designed to stimulate our instinctive, primal desires to sell their products. Under the guise of free speech, they transformed us into a herd of consumers constantly trying to quell unquenchable instinctive desires by purchasing illusory substitutes for satiation and happiness. Rather than making us full, these substitutes are designed to create more desire and more consumption. The chase for pleasure and easy acquisition of short-lived gratification leads us to forget the true nature of the process of life. We just binge-watch "Life with the Kardashians" while stuffing ourselves with some junk food, feining that these will somehow help us find closure for our desires.

During moments of horrifying clarity, we occasionally stop and realize what we really are. Some vestigial memory remains

Some need to strive. Is it for some end goal or illusive, impossible perfection? Or is it for the process, the flow of getting there? It isn't the race that makes us faster, it's the months of training for it that makes us what we are. It isn't the exam that makes the scholar, it is the months of learning to prepare for it.

I learned decades ago that reaching directly for some ideal state is mostly doomed to failure and, if achieved, the one who grasps realizing that the ideal state was illusory. I realized that I regretted nearly all my decisions based on a desire to avoid perceived challenges or distress. I also realized that nearly every time I stepped up to challenge or self-doubt or fear, I was either rewarded or learned something invaluable.

From this, I embraced a maxim that has guided my entire adult life: Never choose the easier path; always choose growth, opportunity, and challenge.