"People intoxicate themselves with work, so they won't see how they really are." - Aldous Huxley's Spandrell character (the first slacker?) in Point Counter Point
I think I “over-work” because I see how I really am. Yesterday, someone bid me farewell for the weekend like this: “Be good…and if you can’t be good, be busy.” She is very insightful.
Is it possible to be unrestrained and not at all monstrous? Is being truly natural overrated or the secret path? The Ten Commandments seem to be written on all of our hearts, yet how natural is it to occasionally covet our neighbors stuff?
How natural is it to worship marvelous things rather than the unseen?
How natural is it to dishonor our parents as teenagers?
How natural is it to tire of our spouses and commit adultery at least of the heart?
But then, how natural is it to admire the strongest restrainers of these natural impulses?
I was taught that contradictions do not exist: they were error codes directing me to check my premises.
Premise 1: I decide what I believe in and what I want from life.
Premise 2: Some beliefs serve us (I believe I am a force for good), and some limit / harm us (I once believed I was bad at math).
Premise 3: The more aligned my goals are with my deepest desires, the more effective I will be.
Premise 4 (The Kicker): I can’t escape the belief that many of my natural desires are opposed to what is good.
I’ve heard this called The Spirit vs. the flesh. It seems that all spiritual practices are aimed at the undivided self. If anyone can explain to me how to get there without destroying "the flesh", I would love to hear it.
So what does all this have to do with creative work with concrete?
Concrete fossilizes our intent. The day we cast is captured in the casting. Our hands must ultimately betray our hearts. The world puts its mark on it as well: the heat and water in the air, the wind, the leaves that fall in, the animals that track across…it’s all there for our grandchildren to later find.
That’s why we put element7 in the concrete. We battle on, and lose ourselves in the fight when we are weak.
“Work for work’s sake” gets a bad rap because it is a retreat from the harder work of meaningful relationships. At least for me it is. The side affects of this “addiction” are financial abundance for dozen of other families and mine, popularity, skills, self-esteem, and fun. Frankly though, parts of my heart get more numb every year. I just hope I can become what I am suppose to be before my clock runs out. I hope that for all of us.
Thank you for reading. Let's get together for coffee if you have something to share.