It seems that in the essence of our strength forms the shadow of our uncertainty.
Take for instance the businessperson who earns great wealth and then comes to learn the pressure of sustaining its growth and preservation. Take for instance the CEO who carefully builds her ranks below to secure her place above, keeping one eye upon the health of the company and the other upon the health of her position. Or take for instance the young scholar, who thrives upon intellectual prestige, but now learns the pressure of upholding credibility through merits of teaching and the acclaim of his publications.
F. Scott Fitzgerald died believing his life's work had been in vain, his novels and short stories he considered just another mirror reflecting the dark landscape of the ‘American dream', his writing just another echo of a seemingly dying genre--the industrial wasteland. By the age of forty he no longer saw the accomplishments of his earlier work, having suffered a decade of hardship in both his personal and professional life, torments from which he never recovered. Dead at 44. A man who was able to describe microscopically the smallest blemishes on the cover of humanity, even through the veil of moral scrutiny, yet on the other hand was unable to uncover the play of costumes he faced in his personal life. The Beautiful and the Damned. The title of one of his lesser-known works, criticized for its autobiographical nature.
Perhaps the novel was personal--a method of coming to terms with the wreckage of his personal life and the torment of his genius--the two eventually colliding at the brink of madness--a place where love may have come to life for a moment and somehow defined its meaning. The Beautiful and the Damned, a title which so handsomely defines the paradoxical relationship between strength and uncertainty; as they appear so closely bound together. Fitzgerald perished in the shadow that divides and bridges the two into one.
Of course not all of those caught in the self-embrace of beauty and physical fortune gasp in the pressure of uncertainty. There seem in fact many who do not understand the condition of chronic torment; they quietly scoff at the "gasping worriers". But it seems often the strong are not what they appear to be. Underneath, they often feel the same uncertainties as those they judge, but having acquired an iron capacity for suppression, their fears and feelings remain internal--the "passive types". They seem able to absorb emotion to the deepest saturation of the psyche--drown it out, so to speak, while gently stabbing the backs of others to clear the way up. They seek to advance the beauty and the power of their reflections, not in mirrors but in the fearful eye of those they encounter day to day. The world seems a small place, containing our desires. But it seems futile to examine the effects of physical beauty--to put it on trial--as it seems this article series has done, without also taking into account the potential for vanity through personal identity. The fundamental desire of both stems perhaps from our basic instinct for self-preservation, staying on top of time and pushing it down, as opposed to flowing with it.