The Danish Poet’s Pilgrimage Through the Uncertainty of Life

The Danish Poet’s Pilgrimage Through the Uncertainty of Life

The Danish Poet: Questions about the Meaning of Life

The Danish Poet won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The film follows the pilgrimage of a poet named Kaspar who has lost his talent for inspired creativity. In his desperate search for help, he travels to Norway to meet a famous writer. As the Danish poet’s journey to recover his sense of inspiration unfolds, he has to deal with bad weather, an angry dog, a fair damsel, a careless postman, hungry goats, a broken heart and other seemingly unconnected circumstances.

Although the tale of The Danish Poet proceeds with a sense of unexpected humor, it is also an allegory for deeper questions about the meaning of one’s life. If we look to the past for meaning, can we really gain such an understanding by tracing the little, seemingly trivial things in the particular chain of events in our lives back to our earliest years? Or, on the other hand, is existence and the course of our lives simply a matter of coincidence.

Learning to Become Prepared to be Unprepared

There is, of course, an alternative perspective about attempting to achieve some understanding about the meaning and course of our lives. If we focus on the present, rather than upon the past, we are faced with acknowledging that human choice always involves choosing one particular course of action while abandoning others, some of which may have turned out to be in some respects equally, or even more preferable. Furthermore, our choice of a particular course of action is always complicated by the unknowingness or ultimate uncertainty about where the path or paths not taken actually might have led.

While life’s ambiguity ultimately is irreducible, learning to embrace the ambiguous and uncertain nature of our lives can vitalize and enrich our experiences of surprise. In other words, focusing upon the present can expand our capacities to become engaged in depth with the ongoing, day-to-day events in our lives.

This in turn calls for us learn how to become prepared to be unprepared for new experiences.

The Danish Poet: On Becoming Prepared to be Unprepared

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