As a toddler, you were taught how to crawl and then walk by someone, most probably close family unless they were super busy with their lives that they had no time for you, your birth shocked them into death or you were thought to be extremely capable and hence abandoned at birth and left to fend for yourself. If it were for your parents, you’d have more often than not been told to follow something. You were probably a part of their fishing experiments as well: they showed you bait (candies, toys etc.) that were further away, asking you to get them for yourself. In your earnestness to get what you loved you progressed better, and voila, your suddenly walking.
That’s probably the first time you were forced to chase something to conquer it. For those of you in the orphanages, you had hardcore competition, I understand and you were probably well acquainted with Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the Fittest” even before you knew alphabets. In and out of foster homes, you’d have learnt one thing if nothing else, you got to have your own back and you got to chase things and chase them best. Stake outs, as cool as they sound are time-consuming and more often than not failures coz hey, the guy who beat you was actually chasing and not just sitting inside some molehill waiting for you to come around.
Patience they say is a virtue one must generously and regularly practise. Knowing when to shift gears, is something that’s even more important. The boxer maybe patient, he may take in blows waiting for the opponent to tire out so that he can knock him out with one blow, but he’s also taken in so much that he’s pretty “beat up” by the end of the fight which he did eventually win. Today, I came across this little girl chasing a butterfly; arms outstretched, something that reminds us a lot of our childhoods as well. Children- the symbol of innocence they say, yet the intensity in her eyes startled me. Focussed on the prey, with the eyes of an eagle, there she was running around. Give her wings and the butterfly was dinner. Luckily for it, the butterfly lived to fly another day.
In pursuit of the butterfly, the girl was only applying what she’d been taught all through childhood: to chase. The same girl will tomorrow chase her dream, something more significant than a fluttering butterfly. The dreams will get fancier, achieving them more difficult, some she shall conquer, some she shall concede defeat to. An old man once on being asked what kept him going cockily remarked “it’s uncertainty my lad. Today you chase something, tomorrow your being chased.” I couldn’t help laughing as I heard the words coming out of his mouth. However reflecting on them, he’s hit the nail right on the head!
Fear is what inspires most of us to look ahead and run along. The chase in itself is something that stems from the fear of losing something. Something which was initially tangible later becomes more of an emotional prize. People chase dreams to social gratification, companies chase new technology to ensure supremacy over competitors, romantics chase love to make themselves feel good about themselves, scientists chase knowledge ( you got to make the world a better place you see) and Buddhists chase happiness 😀 (Pardon me for I don’t care about religions).
At the end of the day, everybody is chasing something, primarily to survive and due to some inherent fear. This is exactly what the Neanderthals did as well, or rather we assume they did. Well if that’s true, how much have we progressed on an intellectual and emotional level, if it is the chase that still drives us? The hardwiring of this system is still so primitive, with appearances changing over the years, once can’t help wonder – “What has changed so much? How are we any better than those apes that walked the face of the earth early on?”
“The chase is still very much on, what’re you chasing today?”