On Success

18 02 2006

It is one thing to believe in yourself, and another to understand your capabilities, and still another to push those boundaries. The first is raw faith in man’s ability to overcome. Untempered, this belief leads to the eventual and inevitable realization of man’s limitations through some self-destructive drive. Understanding your capabilities on the other hand guarantees safe, secure passage through life. Not necessarily equal to achieving a minimum level of success, a strict obedience to acting in accordance with reason generally leads to apathy as you achieve less and less relative to those who take risks and are talented or lucky enough to succeed. To push those boundaries is perhaps the most reasonable course of action, wagering a small chance of failure against the chance of succeeding.

Success, unfortunately, is not easily found in my vocabulary. Only a very few events call to mind successes in my life. For me I find it easier to account for every action as a failure to the ideal potential of that action or event. Thus, every time I hand in a paper late or disappoint my parents or fail to clean my car I can account for it as a failure the same as when I score an A- on an exam, play music that only appeals partially to my parents, or guess to put in nine gallons instead of ten gallons of gas into my car. Every act, thus, is a failure to some extent relative to the potential. It perhaps makes my days easier to think each event to be a failure so that I can minimize the scope of the action, berate my negative mind-set, and consciously punish myself in order not to face the magnitude large or small of the actual event. When I do “come to my senses” as you might call it, I begin to take pride in my “accomplishments” and grow arrogant for imperfect things; in short, by enjoying what most consider to be “accomplishments” I lower my standards and cheapen the true successes, and worse, I begin thinking that I am nearer to perfection for it. Thus, I have to keep my mind in the dark. Many of my grades are failures, many of my friendships are failures, many of my days are failed, pathetic, and unlived. For to think that my life is at all good would be to compare my life to a perfect life. And heaven knows we can’t have that.

What then is success, if failure is so well defined? Success is the perfected event where consciousness, destiny, time, precision and action mesh; not only is the errand satisfied, there is nothing that could nor will ever surpass it. Generally speaking, the unsurpassable nature of the particular event derives from the precise time that the action was carried out; any other time earlier or later would have marred the perfection. Furthermore, successes need to be momentous. If the event in question isn’t difficult, time-intensive, and well-understood by the general population to be an achievement, then there is no potential for that event to be a success. Thus, regarding my fuel station example above, there is no potential for the event to be perfected. Events such as that one remind us that we are continually imperfect beings bound to a world that does not necessarily give us chances to succeed.

It is my delusion that success exists and that I have tasted it that drives me. If I cannot delude myself, if I realize that man is but a “quintessence of dust”, then I would have to objectively concede that man has no purpose existing. Before you tell me success is impossible under my terms, consider the alternative.

On Success, In Love

At some point, you realize that no level of balance, no matter how many stocks you own, bike rides you take, poems you write, or friends you make will ever lead to a successful life. In response to “On Success”, I contend that poor, laughable, ridiculed reason for existence – love – to be greater than attempting to accomplish near-impossible feats. In love we excuse our shortcomings and praise our successes no matter how minimal. Though love bleeds warmth into action, it does not conceal the shortcomings themselves, such things are obvious, self-explanatory, and (another credo of the love manifesto) reparable. Love allows us to redefine success subjectively as opposed to objectively. Men would contend that this is bitchery, a cheap slide into the feminine nature, however, it is not. A life in love is spent fulfilled not out of that insufferable indefatigable “success” but in sharing thoughts and emotions with others. You could call it changing the rules, and cheating the system, but if you’re living as nothing but a “quintessence of dust”, you might as well not feel like a “rogue and peasant slave” and define your world on your own terms – ones that you can live successfully with.

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One response

21 02 2006
Matthias

You are becoming quite the philosopher. But love, in and of itself, is also insufficient. There’s something more and I believe it to be faith. Faith in friendship, love, each other. And of course, the unifying faith in God.
Perhaps, simply by defying the odds of statistics and being existant rather than non-existant, we have already proven our success. Therefore, there is an even larger question. To whom should we prove our success?

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