It is easy to get discouraged when seeking to impart a new idea or insight. The established order is resistant to any change; its intellectual class has a vested interest in defending the ‘received wisdom’ that supports and sustains the social, political and cultural order of the day; and the mass of the people are generally indifferent and uninvolved in such things. So why keep going?
The main reason to persist in your work is that you are called to do it. The main wellspring of motivation has to come from within. Nothing else will be able to sustain work on an idea that is new and at variance with the ‘received wisdom’ of the given established order of things. Those who follow their true desire, their ‘heart’s desire’, their ‘ruling passion’ are the happiest of men, for they are the most true to themselves.
The other reason to persist is that your work has value and meaning to others – not to the establishment intellectuals and academics elaborating and defending the status quo, but to a small group of individuals who need to hear what you have to say for their own development and evolution of self.
You don’t know who these individuals are nor where they are, and you will seldom meet with any of them in your lifetime of work. And yet they are there and they will find you and your work through no effort of your own.
Scripture refers to these as the ‘remnant’, that small group of individuals who are meant to hear what you have to say. All you can do is speak into the wind, as it were, that is to the general public, knowing full well that the message falls on deaf and indifferent ears for the most part, yet trusting that somewhere at some time someone is listening with whom the idea resonates and stirs something deep within, often unbeknowst and of great surprise to themselves. And a seed is planted that will bear fruit later on, in ways unknown and unpredictable, yet of some importance. The harvest may be seen in your lifetime, though most of the fruit will not bear and be ripe until long after.
One such writer, a voice ‘crying in the wilderness’ in his day, was Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945), a libertarian in an age of nationalism and concentration of state power. He wrote an essay, ‘Isaiah’s Job’, about the seemingly thankless task of sharing a message with an indifferent, if not hostile, audience. Isaiah was a man called by God to deliver a message that God’s own people did not want to hear, not then, and almost as certainly since: if they didn’t change their way, disasters would ensue. God told Isaiah to deliver this message without sugar-coating or adjusting it in any way to take into account sensitivities of those in power or the prevailing beliefs of the masses. God also told Isaiah, ‘by the way, the people will ignore your message’. Isaiah asked rather logically, ‘Then what is the point of delivering the message?’ No doubt he was aware of the tendency of people to attack the bringer of bad news. God replied that there were still some individuals, a remnant, who were meant to hear the message and thereby be inspired and motivated to activate their divine mission and advance man’s dominion and the evolution of mind and consciousness. Empires, states, belief systems and social orders will rise and fall, prosper and decline, come and go, yet will the evolution of mind and consciousness persist.
Mass-produced products, products for the mass of people require advertising and all the subtle psychological tools developed by Madison Avenue (the ‘Mad Men’) to reach the people who want what you have or if not, to convince them they need what you have to offer. You have to give the people what they want to prosper in this world. However, we are told that ‘my kingdom is not of this world’. The Idea that is linked to one’s calling, that for which we have been ‘called forth’ into this lifetime, cannot really be advertised, neither can it be shifted, shaped and shoe-horned to fit the subjective and ephemeral tastes of the masses. It cannot be sold, it can only be presented to a generally indifferent public in the knowledge that therein resides a ‘remnant’, though invisible, able and willing to receive the Idea, though we know not how nor when.
Today, the internet provides for a virtual marketplace of Ideas, where each can present their ideas and works, not with the intent of selling a ‘product’, but of sending out a signal that will be picked up and received by those on that wave-length. The measure of success is not in the immediate or even distant future in terms of numbers, status or material return, but rather in the inner joy and fulfillment that comes from working one’s calling. The remnant are those that ‘hear’ a particular word or idea and to the extent an idea falls on fallow ground, it will germinate, grow and bear fruit for a later harvest.