Push Back

When the world pushes, you push back.

Finding Resilience

Events prompted me yesterday to look up an Albert Camus quote that I have always loved:

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

This quote has always been part of my defences in the rough and tumble of work and life. I am fascinated by Camus and have read much of his work in translation. I particularly love The Rebel, as someone who identifies as a change agent. However, I have always clung to this quote as a call to resilence and to rely on my internal and enduring strengths in times of challenge. It helps me to remember that though times may have changed, I have not.

As I was reading, I found a longer version that I had not seen before and I love even more:

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back

Albert Camus


We need more than resilience. We can’t just accept the buffeting of the world as it is. We all have dreams for something better and something more. The human condition is to be agent of change, to be an agent of transcendance of the world. Tim Rayner shared this comment recently on a thread on existentialism.

We have lots of ways to found our push back against the world. The nature of our human existence depends on it. Rayner mentions imagination. I’d add that our imagination enables us to levearge purpose, compassion, yearning and love as other elements of our inner ‘invincible summer’. We can reach beyond where we are now and see what might be for us and for others.

As the storms around us get darker, as our isolation grows, we can feel that we are beset and besieged. As the losses in our lives grow, we can start to feel that the harsh world has won. We need to cherish the flame of our imagination. We need to continue to believe in a better world for us and for others. We need to explore our agency to make changes big and small to bring back control to our world and to live our human potential.

It’s human nature to seek to realise the potential of our rich, vibrant and social imagination. We inspire others with stories, myths, visions, calls to action and plans for the future. We encourage them to push too. We solve big problems together with imaginative leaps. We need to spend time with our imagination more than ever.

Leaps of imagination can be frightening when the days are dark. We need to remember that the leap is not the source of the delight, fear or confusion that we may experience as we contemplate action. Those emotions all happens before the leap. The leap is the response to those emotions and brings new emotions of exercising our human potential.

The world always pushes. Engage your imagination. Push back.

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