Lanterns: The Renaissance Man


The Renaissance Man


is, for many of us, one of the most debilitating maladies a man can experience.

It affects us so profoundly because it strikes at our core being—  at who we are. It saps us of our strength and begins to make us wonder, who- we- are. It compels us to ask why should we go on with anything, and in its most extreme form, compels us to ask why we should even go on existing, at all.

Ultimately depression leads simply, to suicide.

The death, of self.

And that, is the greatest of tragedies.

Most often, it simply leaves us living our lives drifting in some half-life, and in essence, we become some shade in a Greek hell, merely existing, wandering, but not living. We settle for things, never reach for our fullest potential to become, to grow, and in that essence live. But oddly enough, the very question we ask dwelling in our wasteland of depression is the very key to our escaping it.

Why should I go on? Why am I even here?

The answer is that you have been created, in the image of whatever power you believe in, even if it’s simply the random natural process of evolution itself. You were created. When you see an infant, the infant does not ask why it exists.  An animal, a creature, does not ask why. It simply is, and its purpose is rooted in curiosity about itself, its needs, wants, desires, and it wants to eat and thrive and grow.

That, my friend, is your purpose.

To become.

Become all that you may.

This isn’t some philosophical ponderance. It’s much greater than that.

This is simply, a truth. And It is universal in every belief system.

You exist to become.

For those of us who grasp this thought, we become in that realization, a Renaissance Man.

We understand inherently that our very struggle to survive, and thrive, and prosper, is our cause, our Raison D’etre.

Most simply settle. They make a conscious decision, at some point, to stop. They stop truly living. They settle for a job they don’t really want, a spouse they don’t really love, and a lifestyle, a dream that isn’t theirs. And they just...stop.

They are merely waiting to die.


And some unfortunate number even hasten it by yet another conscious decision.

But others make a very different decision.

They seek their happiness. They grasp and understand their right, their inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And they understand also, it is not even always about achieving it—  which is the end goal. It is the pursuit, which matters most.  

Oh, even the very best of us will become discouraged from time to time. But, we do not allow it to become a deterrent, and therein lies the difference.

For each day we rise, we are given the breath of life, anew, and with it, the opportunity to seek the solution to what ails us.  


Written by Ben Coleman

Freelance author, historian and Navy veteran. Find him at

2 Responses

Absolutely wonderful, Ben!

Absolutely wonderful, Ben!

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