To Search or Wander

“The Search” is the name of my blog, but it’s hardly meant to be a celebration of the act of searching in itself. I’m always searching, not aimlessly or without purpose, but to find answers. To find truth. To see how it all connects and to progress in life.

More and more these days, however, I see “searching” held up as a value unto itself. I see “discussion” and “dialogue” becoming fetishized as the most valuable end, as if the suggestion that they were merely a means to an end was somehow naïve or demeaning.  I see my elders patting my cynical, intellectually fragmented peers on the back saying, “great questions,” but not offering wisdom or guidance in the direction of answers or truth. It’s sad, really.

Sometimes I want to shake the shoulders of the baby boomers in my life and remind them, “You have something to say to us! Me and my generation have a lot to learn from you! Help guide us out of this postmodern aimless wandering!”

We are a generation of navel-gazing, pseudo-intellectual youths who enjoy hearing ourselves speak and love sounding intellectual and playing at discourse. We are born searchers, but we don’t know what we are searching for. We like the idea of intellectual discussion. But we don’t trust truth, facts, and answers, and thus prefer to dwell in the land of questions. Furthermore, we don’t have the proper boundaries, foundation, or directional motivation to make any sense out of anything anyway.

That’s why we need guidelines, structure, purpose, a raison d’etre. To set off on a journey without a destination in mind is not to journey; it’s to wander. And in this world—with its collapsing empires, volatile markets, surging unemployment and widespread suffering—we don’t have the luxury of just wandering.

This is not to say that what the world needs are dogmatic assertions of certainty or recklessly rigid, partisan solutions. Rather, it needs a populace who is capable of and committed to a discourse that goes beyond argument, performance and circularity and actually moves things forward productively. It needs politicians who are willing to stop arguing and start looking for answers that work, from whatever side of the aisle they come from. It needs teachers and preachers and leaders who are willing to tell younger folks when they are wrong and when they are right, or at least on the right track.

I don't want to live in a world where there are no wrong answers, where all ideas are good, where expressing an opinion is elevated above understanding the truth. No, I want to live in a world where seeking is thrilling only insofar as a prize--a goal, an epiphany, a discovery--is in sight; where discourse is valuable only insofar as it moves the conversation forward; where the space between me and my other pontificating peers is charged with the electric awareness not of our own individual brilliance, but of the collective inkling that maybe, just maybe, we are on to something.