Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

Knowing how to endure is wisdom. Not knowing is to suffer in vain.

Lao Tzu
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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
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SPRING QUESTION
(This is not a contest.)
Let's go folks.

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.

11 responses so far.

Answers will be published the first day of Summer.

Thank you.

dbdacoba@aol.com

DB - The Vagabond
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5 comments:

pacifica62 said...

You know I think I have heard this voice and I did think it was my own. Perhaps it wasn't after all. However, it was very persuasive and very tempting, but I have heard that this is what the devil is good at in trying to make us give up.

Valerie said...

Fascinating and wise. As Pacifica, I have thought this was my voice as well. I will remember this entry quite fondly. Thanks, DB. xox

Connie said...

The most amazing thing...hmmm I guess it falls on my wishful thinking not so much amazing as far as most peoples thinking...but I want us to go back in time --how far...back to the time of my childhood..when doors didn't have to be locked..you knew your neighbors and they all looked out for each other..jobs were there for the asking....children addressed elders as yes mam--yes sir,people were not looked down upon because of their clothing or education or lack of,a young girl could walk home in the dark from her friends house and sing and be happy,not fearful for her very life,I cry to think what has become of this world and what is yet to come...yes give me back those simplier,trusting,loving times.................

Liz said...

I have often noted that when a word has many meanings the one closest to a person’s mindset is the one that is chosen.
For me the word ‘cast’ immediately brings a fisherman to mind, quietly casting his line and waiting patiently for a bite.
There is the word ‘bite’ that is only welcomed by a fisherman…

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Perseverence and Persistence, with a bit of devil-may-care attitude.