Lost in the Desert of the Mind

The Traveler leaves the situation the same way he entered it: lost.

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

A weary Traveler finds himself lost in the desert. Again and again, he passes the same palm tree. It is unknown how long he has traveled in circles. With a slight spark of cleverness, the Traveler gathers some paper and finds a piece of drifting ash. He draws a map.

Having learned from his past mistakes, the Traveler progresses and finds himself in a different place. The Traveler looks at his map. "I haven't been here before," he says.

A woman on a camel rides over the horizon. Eureka! She is a Guide and she has a map. In his excitement, the Traveler eagerly shows her his crude cartography. He thinks to himself, "Finally I meet someone."

The Traveler boasts, in great detail, of his inventiveness. How, rather than repeating the same mistake, he learned and altered his course, thereby saving his own life. The Traveler believes this makes him quite unique, and against all odds, he has to come to this place and met a guide. He did it alone, with only his self-reliance and wit. The conquering hero of his mental narrative, worthy of admiration. He is his biggest fan.

The Guide pats the Traveler on his shoulder. Seeing that he is doing fine on his own, she leaves on her camel.

"Good job," the Guide says as she waves to the Traveler.

The Traveler smiles and waves back. Finding the recognition he had wanted, he ignores the potential wisdom of the Guide — along with her map. The Traveler leaves the situation the same way he entered it: lost. The smile on the Traveler's face eventually fades away as the sun sets in the desert and he once again finds himself alone. Back to where he first began, the Traveler must escape this barren wasteland before he meets his end.

The next day, the Traveler begins circling the same palm tree; his map no longer useful, filled with old information.

Days pass. The Traveler is almost out of water. But, over the horizon comes a woman on a camel. Eureka! He meets a guide. The Traveler goes into harrowing detail of how he escaped the belly of the beast — with only his intellect and his much-improved map.

Still lost.

Still lost.