Knowing how to endure is wisdom. Not knowing is to suffer in vain.
There is a word in English, "casting," which has many meanings. One of them is to throw something down or away. Among the more obscure uses of the word refers to giving up on an extreme state of physical exertion. The first time I heard it used in that context was from a circus performer. He was a tight rope walker. He performed up high, above the heads of the audience. He had developed a number of tricks that made his act very exciting to watch.
But there was something else going on the audience couldn't see. Casting. He referred to it as "the devil's voice." Whenever he was out on the rope the devil would whisper in his ear to give up. "It's too hard, you're working to hard, it hurts. Let go. There's a net down there to catch you. There's nothing to worry about. You're safe and you won't have to do this any more. Why are you putting yourself through this misery? For applause? For a pay check? Just lean over and fall into the net. You'll feel much better. No more pain."
He said that the more difficult and dangerous the act the more the devil will talk and the louder. He also said every circus performer who does dangerous acts like his, the trapeze artists, pole and rope climbers, are all tempted by the same nasty voice. "Just let go. Everything will be alright."
I've been told that competitive marathon runners also get the same satanic visitor, especially later on in the race. "There's the grass and a shady spot, just go lie down and rest. Stop the pain." Having been a runner myself for a time I can understand it.
Casting. The fact is that some rope walkers fall and some long distance runners stop. They fall victim to the suggestion even, sometimes, without realizing it. They forget or else can't answer the question "Why?".
Another thing the circus fellow told me is that it always sounds like your own voice, your own idea, your own suggestion. A wise person knows not to pay attention to it or claim it as his own.
So how many dangerous ledges and exhausting, painful trials can life put us through? And how often do we hear the voice that says "Just give up. Cast yourself down and out. You'll feel much better."? And how often have we accepted that voice as our own thought and given up when victory, applause and, yes, maybe even a pay check, was lost.
Wisdom is knowing how to endure. It's knowing how not to heed the "devil's voice," loud and long, telling us to quit, to cast ourselves down and out.
DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)
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In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you want but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.
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Answers will be published the first day of Summer.
DB - The Vagabond