Thus, "The gods do not punish the pursuit of happiness but the ambition to forge it with our own hands." Clearly there is a danger in the implicit assumption that we are the source of our own happiness. Therefore, "the only licit desire is for something that does not depend on us at all."
This is one of the things that contributes to my own feverish lack of ambition. Succeeding on my terms would be no success at all! Besides, virtually everything worthwhile in my life came as a surprise, not a plan. I didn't plan my wife, my career, my child, my new friend. Not even the internet. Those things just came to me while I wasn't paying attention.
Ambition combined with education -- or indoctrination -- is responsible for most human ills, at least in the modern west. Therefore, "After seeing work exploit and demolish the world, laziness seems like the mother of the virtues." How much more *progress* can we take before the ambitious eggheads of the left succeed in destroying civilization?
Two symmetrical aphorisms: "The only man who should speak of wealth or power is the one who did not extend his hand when they were within his reach." I don't know that it was ever in reach, but let's just say I've kept my hands to mysoph. And "To learn that the most valuable goods are the least rare requires a long apprenticeship." Quite true. It took me half (I hope!) my life.
Taken to its logical extreme, "God is the name of the sole enigma that, if it were deciphered, would not be a disappointment." Which is to say, everything short of God is going to be a little disappointing. Or maybe not, so long as we don't try to wring more out of it than there is in it. A little perspective goes a long way, and a sense of Cosmic Irony is not a bad thing.
You often see parents -- especially where I live -- essentially rob children of their childhood because of an insane ambition, which, if fulfilled, would result in the children being as happy as those reflexively ambitious parents. Which is to say, not very happy at all -- in fact, so unfulfilled that they have to project it into the child, and then imagine that they will finally be fulfilled if only their child achieves an arbitrary level of success defined by someone else! In short, they simply punt their spiritual emptiness to the next generation.
I had an insight into this dynamic long ago, on the occasion of snatching my BA degree. My parents were quite thrilled, no doubt partly due to the element of surprise at the unexpected accomplishment of a wayward child. Me? Couldn't care less, except that it was one less hoop to jump through.
One of the happiest days of my life -- I still get chills thinking about it -- was my last day of high school. Because of the accomplishment? Please. It was all about having the conspiracy off my back after thirteen years of
torture enhanced indoctrination!
Back to my shattering insight upon becoming a confirmed bachelor: while it was obvious that my parents were far more excited than I was, this went to a more general principle that the success of our children means much more to us than does our own success (at least if we aren't pathological narcissists). First word, first step, first sleepover, first chapter book, whatever. My own firsts are matters of complete indifference to me, whereas my son's firsts never fail to bang the naches button.
Ah, here is the exact aphorism I was looking for: "Only the unexpected fully satisfies. Nothing that satisfies our expectations fulfills our hopes." This is why I so enjoy this medium of expression. If someone were to offer me money to write a commentary on Don Colacho's Aphorisms, I would be miserable. Blogging is only fulfilling -- and it is, very -- because there is absolutely No Plan. Every morning, I can't wait to wake up and accomplish nothing, only maybe a little more deeply this time!
Here is another: "The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space or time." This I wholeheartedly and wholeheadedly believe. I have never been under any delusion that I will be fulfilled after X. Rather, to the extent that fulfillment is possible, it is only possible now. Everything else is a dodge, a mortgage you will never pay off. ¡"There are only instants"!
Has your team ever won the World Series or Super Bowl? Talk about a letdown! The whole point is to live in the tension of that impossible future. Should it actually arrive, the only way to top it is to burn down the city.
As to the surprise-myself blogging, this also goes to why I would never want to be considered an "expert," because that would mean game over. Let others bear the burden of expertise! It's too much fun being an absolute beginner.
Besides, "The prophet is not God's confidante, but a rag blown by sacred squalls." And "There is no spiritual victory that need not be won anew each day" -- or each post. Got another game tomorrow, and the season never ends. Yes, we may dream of winning the World Series, but God forbid we should ever make it there!
For "whoever celebrates future harmonies sells himself to the devil." Rather, "One must live for the moment and for eternity. Not for the disloyalty of time." Live now and for (and in) eternity, not the future, and certainly not the past!
Because "religious thought does not go forward, like scientific thought, but rather goes deeper" -- into the now and therefore eternal. Don't wait until you are sick or old to appreciate your poverty and dependence! For "Wisdom comes down to not showing God how things should be done." And "True talent consists in not making oneself independent from God."
Hey, sorry about all the exclamation marks! It just happened. I'm not trying to go all breathy adolescent on you.