Friday, December 27, 2013

Don't Remind Me

"Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live."  —Margaret Fuller

This is the biggest risk that I run in my life.

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" —Jesus H. Christ

I'm punching the feeder bar week in and week out for a food pellet, but how much good does it do to feed your body, if you do not feed your soul?

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." —Henry David Thoreau

The forces that dictate the trajectory of my life are fear, anxiety, unbelief. I have friends and family that think social/political forces are the problem. They've pulled their mental plug on capitalism, politics, conservatism, liberalism, etc. Here is why I have pulled my mental plug on concerning myself with things of that nature: what if it was true? What if it was true that X (say, capitalism) is the problem? What can I do about that? I have decided that any mental/emotional/intellectual energy that I expend on X is earning me next to zero in ROI. So now and again I indulge myself in a stupid movie, or an expensive scotch—and that is the realm I award to "social/political" forces. Fun to talk about, I suppose, if I had planned on just wasting some time or money, anyway, but not good for much else.

The only thing that has ever held me back is me. Despite all of the indications to the contrary, my body and brain believe I should be making my living inside my head. They believe that this is my destiny, to think long, distill some of that on paper, and trade it for money. I don't know if this is true, but I wouldn't know, because I haven't much tried. That is the only problem, that I am too afraid to try.

A John Updike paraphrase from Rabbit, Run: "Whatever you haven't done by 30, you will probably never do."

It is hard to break the mold. It is hard to not follow the path of least resistance. We do things because they are easy. We achieve things if we can stand the difficulty. It's easier to sit on the sideline, to crack wise and criticize and tear down. It's hard to build something.

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