Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Greatness

A person's greatness is measured in their success, not their attempts.

As a father of three, I see a lot of the "as long as you tried your best, you succeeded" bullshit propaganda pushed down kids' throats to make them feel good about whatever they did, even if they sucked at it. I see it's the mediocre kids' parents that make sure this shit is served up daily. The ones who do nothing to encourage their kids' academic success, or athletic prowess, who go through the suburban routine (rec center soccer/dance, summer camps, a membership at the Y) while never actually investing anything in the development of their child. Disney Channel kids, Disney Channel kids everywhere!

I blame Rocky. The first Rocky, Rocky I. Rocky lost when it counted. He was a presented as a hero because he went the distance, not because he won. He was a loser.

Or maybe Rocky was just a sign post, some two-bit actor paying the rent in California making porn, writing a script about a boxing movie in his spare time, all the while tuned into a cultural wavelength, wrapping a boxing story around it.

Magicians have to deal with similar bullshit, because it pervades our culture too. We understand a spiritual TRVTH, that it's not the Goal, it's the Journey that matters. We appreciate and value the gathering, indexing, and distribution of organized information. We learn skills, we learn our lessons, and as a result we can do things that are far more meaningful through the scope of eternity, regardless of where we are socio-economically by our culture's material standards within any given lifetime.

While that's a TRVTH across many belief systems in one form or another, and there is value and merit in understanding this TRVTH, it's still your success that makes you a great magician, not your attempt.

It might take you an Edison's-light-bulb of number of attempts before you succeed. Every time you fail, you have to try again. Learn your lessons, yes, but then turn around and apply those lessons to getting it right this time.

The Great Work is a process that has no single landmark of success or accomplishment. I aim to be a Power when I die. I think I'd already make a decent enough one, but not the kind I want to be. There's a lot more to go, no matter how far I've gotten.

But there are points of success in my Work that have built up over time, like steps on a ladder that I've successfully taken. Learning a cosmology, conjuring the entities, applying the results to my life. Receiving an initiation, integrating the forces, and being able as a result to reach the next level of initiation and continue the process. There are Gates in the process, check points. It took many attempts to achieve success, to pass through the Gate, but it is the success that makes the next thing possible.

Don't settle, my friends, for "as long as you tried your best, that's all that matters." It matters a lot to try your best, but you haven't succeeded just because you tried.

Maybe your goal was wrong. Maybe you were trying to achieve the wrong thing, maybe that's the lesson you need to apply. Don't think I'm saying you have to get neurotically caught in a loop of trying to accomplish an ignorant goal. Don't throw yourself at a concrete wall until your atoms pass through the atoms of the wall. You'll batter yourself senseless. Don't do it metaphorically either. If the goal is to get on the other side of the wall, and you can't phase through it, find a door, make one, or climb the wall. Maybe you just aren't near the Gate.

Find another way to succeed. Don't settle.