The Greatest Hunger of All

Born in the Free State, Sir Laurens Van Der Post was a 20th-century South African author, farmer, soldier, political adviser to British heads of government, journalist, humanitarian, explorer and conservationist. He was fascinated with the Bushmen and how they thrive in one of the world’s most inhospitable landscapes, with their cave art and their joyful music-making. What struck me about his writing, is their depth of wisdom and I would like to share this excerpt with you:

“The Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert talk about the two “hungers”. There is the Great Hunger and there is the Little Hunger. The Little Hunger wants food for the belly; but the Great Hunger, the greatest hunger of all, is the hunger for meaning.

There is ultimately only one thing that makes human beings deeply and profoundly bitter, and that is to have thrust upon them a life without meaning. There is nothing wrong in searching for happiness.

But of far more comfort to the soul is something greater than happiness or unhappiness, and that is meaning. Because meaning transfigures all. Once what you are doing has for you meaning, it is irrelevant whether you’re happy or unhappy. You are content – you are not alone in your Spirit – you belong.”

In my life, my art gives me that meaning I searched for, happiness and a sense of belonging. It helps me figuring things out as I struggle through my questions and observations, paintbrush in hand. I truly hope you find your purpose in life, and fulfilment en-route on your search for meaning and happiness.

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