We interrupt this sententious progression of politically-focused tirades by a retired engineer and hack novelist for an example of genuine brilliance from a previously unknown writer. Here’s the pith of it:
We have become so focused on results that our actions have become a secondary concern. We judge men based on what they have instead of what they do. We signal our ideals instead of embracing them.
In his short book Do the Work, [Steven] Pressfield relates a New Yorker cartoon that cleverly skewers our preference for thinking about things, rather than doing them:“A perplexed person stands before two doors. One door says HEAVEN. The other says BOOKS ABOUT HEAVEN.”
He’s perplexed. He’s considering the book. It’s funny because it’s absurd… and because we know we’d have the same consideration.
That’s where we are as a culture. We run desperately to abstraction and avoid action at all costs. Thoreau’s man of “quiet desperation” has never been so prevalent.
The world is full of men who are “stuck” in life. There has been some mass paralysis. Modern man has forgotten how to take action.
Author Kyle Eschenroeder goes on to note that action does not guarantee success. Indeed, most action eventuates in failure – but failure is itself a step forward, if embraced and understood. As Louis Nizer wrote in My Life In Court, “Defeat is education. It is a step to something better.”
Words to live by...especially for a retired engineer and hack novelist. I commend them to you all.