The only way to learn is to live, and the only way to live is to learn. To truly learn means that one’s hands must be constantly dirty with the work of being alive. To be alive means that one’s heels must be steadfastly dug into the lessons that our efforts offer up to us. To live is have mud on your cleats. To learn is to have blood in your teeth.
Shelley says that “To live…we must not only observe and learn, we must also feel; we must not be mere spectators of action, we must act; we must not describe, but be subjects of description. Deep sorrow must have been the inmate of our bosoms… sickening doubt and false hope must have chequered our days”
We have but one task. One mission. One directive. One calling. Our only objective is to learn something profound about ourselves and the world in which we live and move and have our being. To heed this call is to believe in the potency and potential of our words to grow legs. But, this, in itself, is no easy task, especially because so often it will seem as though nothing has happened, as though nothing has changed.
For extended durations all our efforts are seemingly ineffectual. But, then, somewhere in the terror and bewilderment, something changes. Something arrives. Something comes into being and comes to life; it is our LIFE, provoked and prodded by lessons learned through tedium and trouble. We are transformed. It is a transformative metamorphosis that comes about not in a climactic moment of instantaneous realization, but instead, arrives amidst an almost infinite expanse of minute and incremental adaptations. When we are the one thing that changes, everything else does too. This is what it means to be awake. This is what it means to be alive. This is the arduous task of what it means to grow.
As E.M. Cioran says “There is never too great a distinction made between those who have paid for the tiniest step toward knowledge and those, incomparably more numerous, who have received a convenient, indifferent knowledge, a knowledge without ordeals.”
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