“Stoicism was perhaps the best,” as Henry Adams said to himself, but you can’t get over the worry that there is something ridiculous in building this citadel around your heart, and that once behind the wall, all you can do is pay off debts to yourself in currency with your own face printed on it.
The other idea is what the Zen masters seem to recommend, so far as we understand the Zen masters, which is to take down the wall entirely and throw the bricks into the sea. You could spend a lifetime in trepidation, staring at those bricks and wondering which to pull out first. Is there not the ocean on the other side? The void? Yes, it is possible to spend a lifetime with your hands in your pockets, and as Simone Weil said to herself, “if he does not lose courage, if he goes on walking, it is absolutely certain that he will finally arrive at the center of the labyrinth. And there God is waiting to eat him.”