The Enemy of the Good (eideteker) wrote,
The Enemy of the Good

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What is the Art of Life? Can you tell me?

Last night I drifted off to sleep around midnight; the last notes of Brain Salad Surgery still sounding in my ear. Don't ask me why, but I thought of Queensrÿche's "The Art of Life" and asked myself: What is the art of life? And the refrain of the song came back to me: discipline, discipline. In the song, it's almost peripheral to the music, almost subliminal. Behind the music, if you will. I was reading an article about Carrie Nuttall photographing her husband, Neil Peart, the drummer for Rush. Neil's probably as close to I get in terms of having a "hero". He's one of the most highly regarded drummers of all time, and one of the very few lyricists whose words consistently speak to me. And the thread of the interview kept coming back to that same refrain: discipline, discipline. It's not luck or talent. But I've read enough about Neil to know he was not always as focused as he is now. There may be hope for me. If I could just reach that switch inside that makes me disciplined. If I could find something I love with an all-consuming fire... if I could just wake up and control my actions; write every day, at the same time, for the same duration, or learn not to hate the daily chores that intervene between myself and writing, music, and making people laugh; my three passions. But then, I'd be a robot.

My lips were moving as I spoke to myself: "So the secret is that there is no secret. The tipping point is realizing there is no tipping point. The answer is that it's not one choice you make, but many. It's not any one thing you do, but everything you do." And I smiled. It's a conclusion I've reached many times before. To what end? What have I accomplished? Nothing. That's not entirely true. I am who you see before you (metaphorically in this internet context, but imagine I'm sitting on your desk with your computer, or your lap if you have a laptop, HEY NOW! What's happenin, sailor?). It's a conclusion I've reached many times before, yes, but by its very definition, it's one that I must keep reaching.

"To say yes to one instant is to say yes to all of existence." True, but only if you accept that each single instant in your life is the only moment there ever is, the Holy Moment. The Nietzschean Eternal Recurrence.

I take my comfort in that every single one of you is wrestling with this same thing every moment of your lives. Every single human being is, even my heroes.

I conclude, as I've done many times in the past, with the final lines of "The Art of Life", as adapted from the Teachings of Don Juan:
"The Art of Life is
without rushing, without faltering
unravelling the secrets of knowledge.
We must challenge and defeat our four natural enemies:
Fear, Clarity, Power, and the Desire to Rest."

Without rushing, without faltering. discipline, discipline.

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