Those who are never lost are forever lost. Only those who know they are lost and that life is a shipwreck have a chance to find their way to shore.
The world’s great religions, including Taoism and Existential philosophy, understand that at the heart of human existence is the presence of the not (death, emptiness, void), but this negative reality, this “nothingness” interpenetrates with the positive of being alive so that our knowledge coincides with our ignorance, our lives with our death, and our truth with untruth.
This is also common sense.
Everyone is a pilgrim on the way, and because there are no maps, we all get lost. And it is only by getting lost in a deep sense that we can find ourselves and discover the truth about the world.
It is well known that Ernest Hemingway made famous the phrase “the lost generation” when he opened his novel The Sun Also Rises with the epigram “You are all a lost generation,” attributed to Gertrude Stein, who said she heard it from a garage owner who said it about a young auto mechanic in his employ.
It is less well known that Hemingway later wrote “that all generations were lost by something and always had been and always would be …But to hell with her lost-generation talk and all the dirty easy labels.”
He was thinking of how the madness of war with the calls to patriotism and God and country and the never-ending official lies about everything maimed people at very deep levels. His words in A Farewell to Arms have lasted because they are so true in their dismissal of abstract obscenities and their embrace of the concrete: