Speaking Plainly

Success is death; success is the death that doesn’t know itself to be death. Failure, on the other hand, is our teacher. Failure is our greatest and kindest teacher. So kind is failure, so very kind, and yet none think to thank her. Who thanks failure? Not very many people, I can tell you. We avoid our teacher, kindly she is, because we do not wish to learn what she has to teach. We avoid her like the plague: instead – as well you yourself know – we yap about success. Like small dogs we are – yapping frenziedly, yapping from morning till night. We love success so much don’t we? We love it for what it symbolises; we love it for its symbolic message, which is that we can attain to the greatest heights of glory and renown whilst at the same time avoiding the teacher that we fear. This is the ideal you see – this is the magic solution to the predicament that we find ourselves in. Who doesn’t want a magic solution after all? I think I would be right to say that we’re all in the market for that! Success is what we’re after and what success means – speaking plainly here you understand – is that we can avoid learning what we need to learn whilst being applauded and congratulated by everyone who comes along for having attained something great, something wonderful. Something that we all agree to call great or wonderful at any rate, which comes to the same thing in the end. We won’t quibble over details. We won’t split hairs! This represents a cunning and ingenious dodge by anyone’s standards so respect where respect is due and all that. We all fear learning the thing, you see. We all fear learning the thing. At the faintest hint or whisper that any actual learning might come our way we run screaming from the room; we leave the house in a big hurry and tear off down the street, farting with terror as we go. Farting madly with sheer unbridled terror. We’re like naughty children you see, mitching off from school and smoking fags behind the bicycle sheds. Hanging around shopping malls and making trouble, upsetting honest regular hard-working folk. We go off seeking success instead and everyone applauds us for making the effort, everyone congratulates us for the dreaming the dream. We’re sniffing glue on the street corner you see, sniffing it good and proper. We’re getting a right good buzz, a buzz like you can’t imagine. A big, big buzz. If we are successful (at whatever people say is great, at whatever people say is wonderful) then no one notices that we’ve skived off from school. They forget about that and so do we. Who needs to learn their lessons when they’re successful, after all? Not when you’ve got all that wonderful validation coming your way – you can get to stay the very same dumb, obnoxious jerk you always were and yet be great at the same time! That’s why we all like to yap and yap and yap about success you see. We’re intoxicated by the thought of it. Immersed in foolishness as we are, why would we ever give a damn? And foolishness is very immersive – there’s no doubt about that! The fish doesn’t know that it’s swimming around in water (so they say) and we don’t know that we’re swimming about in our own foolishness. You couldn’t point it out to us. You couldn’t point anything out to us. We flee from failure, you see. We flee from failure because failure is our greatest and kindest teacher. So kind, so kind. Patient too. Kindness can be very frightening you know. Compassion can be very frightening – when you look into the eyes of the teacher you’ve been running away from for your whole life and you see the depth of compassion that is there you’re frankly terrified. Why wouldn’t you be? You can see yourself through her eyes; you can see how much you have to learn and how hard it is going to be for you to learn it and so you’ve gone numb with fear. You were numb before but you’ve gone beyond numb now – you are trying to escape into your numbness but that isn’t going to work this time. You know this as well as you have ever known anything in your entire life. You know it better than you have ever known anything in our entire life. You’re up against it. Success is the death that doesn’t know itself to be death but failure eventually comes to us all; in our foolishness we imagined that we could escape but we can’t.







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