Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Life as Discovery

The Comment on my aphorism of yesterday prompts a few thoughts.

"I suppose that is where the expression 'eternal child' comes into play. Those who cannot cope with life as mere repetition probably fail at the business of 'success' as well.

For a true artist, life is forever a voyage of discovery."

I agree, of course. To remain childlike is devoutly to be wished for the sake of joie de vivre as well as creativity. That -- in my opinion -- is precisely because life as discovery is exciting and full of freshness, while life as repetition obviously is not.

Life as repetition involves reliving the same familiar things over and over . . . which reminds me of what I wrote about my "observe where attention goes" meditation ("Another Unexpected Meditation", Dec. 2, 2006). When one relaxes attentively, consciousness is immediately drawn to whatever is new in the environment; it ignores what has been there long enough to become familiar and therefore to seem safe. The same applies to living life as repetition: The familiar -- having not killed you or seriously harmed you -- provides a sense of safety and security, but little else.

Life as a voyage of discovery, however, trades safety and security for excitement and inspiration. I suppose it is unavoidable that as one adds more and more years to one's life there is a tendency to fall into repetition to some extent, but as the Commentator wrote, "For a true artist, life is forever a voyage of discovery." I would not give anything in exchange for feeling that I've remained on my childhood voyage of discovery until the present day.

It was said that Goethe would observe and discover more in a half day's carriage ride in his own neighborhood than an ordinary man would observe and discover in his lifetime.

(Actually, I'm not sure who said it or even if it was said. Maybe I made the Goethe story up! A refined memory was not included among my gifts. Sometimes I must include a little story in this blog even though I can't recall it exactly and am unable to find the source. Forgive me.)

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