a ride through the clouds to Hawk Hill this past weekend
They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet persistence is the key to success. I think you often have to repeat a wrong thing over and over in order to really internalize a learning. One lesson I have to continually relearn is that the best answers don't come easy, say in the form of a pithy saying or a matter-of-fact statement. The answers you end up holding on to are the ones you discover on your own. The answers that come after days of toiling and coming up short, of long streaks of searching without finding and pushing without moving. We usually determine value based on how valuable others find it, but for these sorts of answers, all that matters is how profound your heart finds it.
If only we could go through life and fully internalize the advice and experiences that people share with us, wisdom would be abundant. And by fully internalize, I mean comprehensively, authentically, intimately experiencing those moments and the root memories of those pieces of advice. The pithy but sincere epithets we offer to others and receive in return are backed by meaningful life experiences that have shaped our end outlook. How can we hope to encapsulate all the meaning that's felt in those lived experiences pulsing through our heart and mind and soul with our clumsy words? As a people, we’ve struggled to capture the depths of human feeling through language. The greatest authors and poets and artists of our existence have continually come up short, so what hope is left for us? They strive to bottle up as much emotional impact into a piece in a way that we can use our existing lived experiences as a reference point. The best pieces of media create an accessible gateway into tapping into that well of feeling, a portal into a past state of being. Is there a future where we could experience those experiences as intensely as if we had lived them?
I'll frequently try the same thing over and over again just to make sure my assumptions are correct. Sometimes I'm just frustrated and want it to work; I don't care about the underlying mechanics or what little piece is off that I would know if I studied all the mechanisms of this dynamic life system. I just want to air fry my tofu. Unfortunately, we often don't have that choice and must find our way to a satisfactory conclusion without the crutch. We try and fail and repeat as a way of learning. Perhaps it’s because we need to convince ourselves that something is wrong at a fundamental level, rather than having primarily to do with chance. Perhaps it's because you need to be a little crazy in order to make something unbelievable happen. So count me in as one of the crazy ones because I'll never be done learning or tire of questioning or give up on reaching. Even if it’s an exercise in futility, what better way to go than to try, try, and try some more to capture that unimaginable depth of experience and share it as best as you can with the world. Why else are we here if not to try and fail and live and repeat it all over again? The same thing over and over, or so we think. A ritual of stability, a rock in our lives, but each day different. Maybe what we do never changes, but the way we experience it is never the same.
This is the 33rd installment in my experiment of publishing raw, lightly edited mini-essays every day towards achieving 100 public pieces. Check out the rationale and the full list here or view my evergreen, longer pieces on my website.