Monday, March 21, 2005

Let It Slide

by AJ/Skald

We must let that which does not matter truly slide (paraphrase from Fight Club).

What does not matter: a nice apartment, a career, other peoples opinions of us, the amount of money in our bank account, the kind of car we drive, our looks, our popularity, our attractiveness to the opposite sex (or if gay, the same sex), our opinions, our luxuries, the news, gadgets, possessions, our resume,.....

What does matter: ecstasy, bliss, freedom, self-reliance, autonomy, friendships, purpose, passion, flow, immersion in the moment......

In the movie (Fight Club), the main character blows up his apartment and his expensive furniture. He moves into an abandoned shithole. He blackmails his boss and quits. He shaves away every extraneous luxury in his life. He gives up being nice. He gives up being respectable. He gives up his career.

Thats the sort of commitment we need. To be free, youve got to be willing to sacrifice every luxurious trap that society throws your way. That means expensive gadgets. That means new cars. That means a luxurious apartment/house. That means a career. That means stylish clothes. That means being cool. That means impressing women/men. That means a family. That means marriage. All of these sacrifices may not necessarily be required... but weve got to be prepared to make them if necessary.

No one said its easy. Tough decisions are required. In a nutshell, youve got to be willing to give up your reputation. You have to accept that people will think you are irresponsible, strange, selfish, foolish, poor, uncool, undatable, and undesirable. That is the price. Accept it. Know that this is the case.

But also know the reward. The reward is freedom-- the freedom to live according to your dreams and principles. The freedom to follow your bliss wherever it takes you. The freedom to be challenged every day. The freedom to keep learning and growing. The freedom to take full responsibility for your own life. Freedom from boredom. Freedom from wage slavery. Freedom from monotony.

The hobopoet path is not for people who crave security. It is for those who recognize that our position is always precarious. The truth is that mainstream suburbanites are no more secure than we are. They are one traffic accident away from homelessness. They are one diagnosis away from cataclysmic change. They are one phone call away from grief and depression. They are one stock market crash away from economic ruin. They too will face disease. They too will face change. They too will face catastrophe. They too will face death.

All that they have built will crumble. Their houses will be sold. Their possessions scattered. Their work forgotten. Their careers... their lifes work.. will amount to nothing but a blip on the stock market ticker. Their looks will fade. Like it or not... resist it or not.... they too will face the unravelling of all that seems secure and stable.

Better, I think, to recognize these truths early on. Better to embrace change and impermanence now. Better not to collect a bunch of shit in the first place-- to realize it doesnt matter.

Better not to pretend... to realize that this moment is all we have... to immerse ourselves in it as much as possible. Better to realize that all that matters about our WORK is the joy it brings us while doing it. The results do not matter. Neither does the pay. These will not last. There will be no delayed reward for good behavior

Sooner or later, all careers end. All relationships end. All works crumble. All lives end. Will Tom Peters be remember 100 years from now? Will Donald Trump? Mel Gibson? Bill Gates? Me? You? I doubt it.

The end is not the important thing. Its the process, the ecstatic engagement of the moment, that is lifes only reward. And our only hope for happiness.

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