The good life is something a man doesn’t count on. Rather, he bets on it. Because if a man counts on it, he—in the most essential place—risks nothing. Obviously. Because he has it all figured out. The answers are all known. It has all been arranged and explained. Everyone agrees on the plan, encouraging the simple math. “2+2=4!” A high school diploma plus a college degree plus a 401k equals the good life. Therefore, the counting-on-it man is, quite simply, an accountant. Living by theory, but no great theoretician. Speaking about hypotheses and art and worth, but no originator of hypotheses, art, or anything worthy. Claiming things he never paid for. He parrots and copies. In the game of life this man places no great bet upon the table. He is merely a technician applying the most rigorous science to his faith while keeping the most rigorous faith in his science. His is an existence lacking in wonder or amazement. Where the only surprises are bad ones. When what he counts on doesn’t happen, he will stand in awe of his calculations, but because they are miscalculations, it will be an awful awe. He will become a tale of all the good that never happened.
To put it another way: Anyone counting on the good life as a reward for his sacrifice, nullifies the sacrifice. In essence, there is no real sacrifice to his sacrifice. In its essence, its aroma is foul. Because from his point of view whatever he sacrificed FOR was already his. “See, it’s already written down in my book,” he says tapping the page. “I risked 2, then I risked 2 more. And 2+2=4!”
But this is the opposite of risk. His sacrifices are always bloodless. His life is not a bet, where everything is on the line and he MAY YET win, but rather a safe and secure transaction on an alter loaded with expectations and assumptions and limp second fruits; where the only thing sure to be in short supply is Abel’s pleasure.
If there is no real risk, there is no real life. In reality, if there is no real risk, there is no reality. Because to really live is to risk it all.
On the day a man is born, he is born neither a blank page nor a completed instruction manual, he is born an adventure. It begins on page one with “Once upon a time…” and is followed by page after living page typed today, written a thousand years ago, chiseled ten thousand years ago, spoken ten thousand years from now, and sung forever. “And will he win? Will he love? Will he fall? We he rise? Is it a good one? Is it a good life?” You may ask.
“Don’t count on it." The man smiles. “Bet on it.”