Friday, July 9, 2021

Persevere or Perseverate?

Tenacity and perseverance are traits that tend to be admired. Even a Buddhist practice based on meditation requires it. Try sitting still for an extended period of time. Or consider one of those silent retreats  where you aren’t allowed to talk--for days. Clearing the brain and thinking about nothing turns out to be work. Of course, there can be a negative side to such drive. People who can’t regulate their will often self-implode. It’s one thing to push the legs in a race and another to smash your head against a wall when you come in second. Sometimes people who persevere in a bad marriage, or a job that’s going nowhere, are merely deluded. Can it be said that a certain degree of tenacity is required to let go of a hopeless situation? Sisyphus is paradigm of the kind of enervating tenacity that leads to inanition. A good competitor assesses his opponent; grandmasters know when to resign. Simply leaping into the void is likely to lead to free fall. A Hail Mary in football is just that; it’s a prayer that, by definition, is seldom answered--with a touchdown. Then there are those who persevere to wake themselves up from the sleep of death.

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

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