Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Risks and Indulgences  §

It is a dangerous thing to let one’s guard down in a moment of victory, because at such moments the temptation to engage in celebration or to “reward” oneself for a job well-done is overpowering.

These are common tropes in our society—the success-party, the good-behavior-reward—and they are completely and utterly toxic to life. They threaten to immediately destroy all of the hard work that one has just done by spending the dollars one has just worked to save, disrupting the routine that one has just worked to establish, interrupting the momentum that one has just worked so hard to achieve.

A celebration is a break in the program, a descent from the “mind flows like water” state of true progress; furthermore, like an earthquake demands aftershocks, celebrations and rewards tend to demand afterparties and so on.

Better never to stop in the first place. Life and progress are meant to be the celebrations of life and progress; they are their own rewards. Never stop. Never stop.

Start going and never stop.

(Have to learn this lesson. Have to learn it over and over again, in fact. Hopefully that won’t always be the case.)

— § —

Apropos of all of this, in a way, is the small revelation that despite the simplicity of the questions I asked myself in my previous post—those world-shattering, head-in-the-clouds, world-is-your-oyster questions that are a so thrilling to think about and diverting and fulfilling to answer despite requiring very little time investment in the process—I have not managed to answer any of them.

I had forgotten I asked them of myself again until re-reading my post tonight. Two things, in response:

(1) See above (first section) in this post.

(2) This is what blogging is good for. Blogs are your superhuman memory, for superhuman achievements. Use them.

— § —

Auntie, who had been here since month three as a babysitter (basically for the spring semester) has now officially gone. She flew from NYC tonight at 9:00 PM or so.

And so we are, once again, three. And so it is that we are reminded once again of how remarkably quickly time flies. Auntie came, she survived the awkward houseguest stage, increasingly found herself to be a member of the household, developed routines, became comfortable, stayed for more than half of my daughter’s life—and now has gone again. And all of that happened after grandma came before her and did the same thing; after our daughter’s first Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

The kid has gone through two long-term babysitters, a long awaited (and too soon over) stint of “just baby and daddy at home during the day,” has gone from being an infant to crawling around the house and barking demands like a little general with the world’s prettiest face.

She is growing up before our eyes, goes the saying, and there is something to it. More sadly, she is also often growing up when we aren’t quite looking—as we regretfully admit to ourselves that we can’t keep her in complete focus all of the time, that there is some amount of “going through the motions” involved in life with children because in advanced industrial capitalist society, life with children comes behind “real life,” which is life with the company, life with your work, life with career, life in a profession…if you want your children to be able to eat at all.

— § —

The truism that life is a “journey not a destination,” or that it is a kind of “becoming rather than being,” or that “what happens to you while you are busy making other plans” doesn’t really convey an appropriate sense of the loss that one feels at the impossibility of ever being able to stop long enough to really enjoy things without killing things off to such an extent (again, see the first section above) that there is nothing left to enjoy.

You can look at it, try to enjoy it, and have nothing worth enjoying, or you can work on it and at it, build precisely that which is  most laudable and enjoyable—but in doing so eliminate any emotional, temporal, or cognitive space in which to enjoy it.

You can have a life worth enjoying but not enjoy it, or you can stop to try and enjoy life and in so doing ruin any chance you had of building a life that might have been enjoyable.

— § —

Or maybe there’s a way around this silly paradox that puts the lie to this indulgence of a post. Perhaps this is where I refer to the first part of this post once again.