Archive for March 5th, 2023

GC Myers- Inner Perception, 2011

Inner Perception, 2011

Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know. Success makes a fool of you, but failure can come only from great effort. One who doesn’t try cannot fail and become wise.

–William Saroyan, New York Journal-American, Aug. 23, 1961

I wish that I knew what I know now when I was stronger...

You have probably heard this line above before. Maybe you recognize it from the old Faces’ song, Ooh La La. Or maybe you heard it from someone older than you. Or maybe you’ve said it yourself.

The words make sense. I guess you would almost always want to relive the past with greater knowledge than you had at the time. It would definitely help avoid the stumbles and setbacks you experienced along the way. To have that wisdom beforehand might be a wonderful thing.

But maybe it’s the acquiring of this wisdom that matters, the experience of trying and failing multiple times. Maybe you need to experience that blind and unfounded optimism that sets you off on misguided missions doomed to fall short. Maybe you need to learn how to claw your way up from the fall to the bottom.

Maybe wisdom has to be hard earned before it can be fully appreciated.

Or maybe not. Maybe I am making excuses to rationalize away my own past shortcomings and overall lack of wisdom. Maybe all my earlier mistakes and missteps could have been avoided altogether with the wisdom I have now.

But would having that wisdom at an earlier age lead me to this same point today?

I don’t think that can be known. But perhaps having greater wisdom, I might have realized I had more options, thus would not have made the same choices. I most likely would not followed the same path or met those same people who have helped me along the way. Circumstances and reactions would be different.

Would I even be a painter? And if so, would my work be the same as it has been? Or does the work I do require a past that includes my mistakes, disappointments and anxieties? Maybe those past failings are the darkness that provides the needed contrast.

I guess the ultimate question is: Would I be happier with my life, having gained what little wisdom I might have now at an earlier age?

I kind of doubt it. Wisdom is certainly not a guarantee for happiness or contentment. Sometimes it is even a hindrance to those things.

Guess I’ll play the hand I’ve been dealt. I am, after all is said and done, relatively content with my lot in life so I can happily abide with the choices and even the mistakes I have made. What little wisdom I have gained over the years tells me I would be no more content nor happier on the safer, stabler path I might have chosen with foreknowledge.

Ooh la la…

Most of the above is from several years back though I rewrote much of it, as well as adding the quote from the late William Styron and the painting from 2011 that hangs in my studio. For this Sunday morning’s music interlude, here’s the song from Faces featuring Ronnie Wood on vocals. Give a listen and have yourself a great day with no regrets. Ooh la la…

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