The source of these existential tableaux celebrates its tricentenary this year.
Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) was not the first story of shipwreck and marooning on a desert island, but it turned earlier real-life accounts into a cultural emblem.
He deduced they came from seeds that where hidden amongst the dust particles he shook out of a bag he salvaged from the wrecked ship. Those few seeds when harvested and replanted gave him sustenance for years to come. You need to open your eyes and see the opportunities that spring up around you and take action. They may come in the form of people you meet or an inspired idea.
In every case, you need to take action to propel the sequence of events that will germinate and grow the seeds into a bountiful crop.
Really, when you think about it, we live a sweet pampered life.
Yet, we are so quick to bemoan our perceived hardships. EVERY moment…EVERY situation you encounter in EVERY minute of your day has the opportunity to be viewed as a disaster or a blessing.He decides to nurture them to see what they become.Low and behold they mature into a few stalks of corn, barley and rice.Some years ago the New Yorker banned desert-island cartoons from the magazine.The ragged, bearded fellow making satirical observations from his little patch of sand with its lone palm tree had become a tired formula.With nothing more than some salvaged items from his ship, he embarks on a new life with not even a roof over his head.First lesson: As I listened to this classic tale, I couldn’t help but feel ashamed how I take for granted all that life has bestowed on me.He begins as a wanderer, aimless on a sea he does not understand and ends up enlightened.His enlightenment does not come through listening to sermons in a church but through spending time alone amongst nature with only his thoughts.But he’s still with us, Wifi and social media now offering new punchlines: he forgets the password (was it “coconut” or “fish”? We can all identify with that castaway now, clinging to our petty, futile obsessions, routines, platitudes and delusions in the face of isolation and hopelessness.We “go on”, our Beckettian resolve both noble and pathetic.