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The Burning Platform: Adventures in Adaptability

“Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It should arouse a revolt that can become fruitful.” ~ Albert Camus

There is more to being human than choice – there is vicissitude.

There is unexpected change. Sometimes we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes we’re forced to make difficult decisions with little or no preparation. As Andy Mochan said, regarding his being trapped on a literal burning oil platform: “It was fry or jump, so I jumped.”

The burning platform metaphor is a powerful tool that we can use to leverage more of a well-lived life into our otherwise mundane lives.

Because, when it really comes down to it, everything is a burning platform. Everything is transitory. Everything is changing. Everything is in flux, buckling and bending through the fateful sieve of vicissitude. Everything is burning through the nonnegotiable flames of change. In an absurd universe, it’s almost always “fry or jump.”

Most people’s response to the absurdity of existence is to just hole-up. To vainly buffer the mind-body-soul from the burden of impermanence. To naively batten-down the hatches of insecure invulnerability while inadvertently forsaking courageous vulnerability. To ignorantly erect walls that reinforce weakness and prevent comfort zones from expanding. But as Stefan Molyneux said, “There is no weakness as great as false strength.”

So it behooves us to embrace absurdity. To roll with the punches. To un-buffer from time to time. To go with the flow here and there. To embrace courageous vulnerability. To tear down insecure walls. To adapt and overcome despite the vicissitudes of life.

Find solace and succor where we can find it, certainly. But lest we become stuck suckers, we must remember that things will always change. We neglect such wisdom at our own peril.

Here are four strategies for embracing absurdity by adapting and overcoming the burning platform, by “jumping” rather than “frying.”

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Gary Z McGee
Gary Z McGee
Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
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