Saturday, December 26, 2009

Inspiration for the Day

In Iran, there is a tradition wherein individuals open the collected works of Rumi at random and place a finger on a phrase without looking as a sort of fortune-telling device. As Rumi is considered one of the great poets and philosophers of Iranian culture, one might imagine a similar tradition in the English-speaking world of doing likewise with the collected works of William Shakespeare.

There are those who read a chapter from the Bible or a Surah from Qur'an each morning upon rising, and others who use 'inspirational' books published precisely for this purpose. I never have been fond of commercially-created 'inspirational' books myself, nor do I read newspaper columnists who earn a living by dispensing THEIR homespun wisdom to readers.

Finally, it never would occur to me to use the television as an inspirational device, nor would I watch television in the morning. With game consoles connected to a television screen, however, I must power up the television in order to work on my guides for Animal Parade, the latest Harvest Moon game for the Wii. Having watched a film in the dead of night, the channel still was set for the television rather than the Wii.

Some random film was playing and the first words I heard before the channel changed to the Wii screen were:

'Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm.'

Wisdom most profound, acquired accidentally. I did not continue to watch the film. I do not know if it contained any more gems of truth but I rather suspect that the sentence I heard was the best in the entire script.

Somehow, a mistake has been made with respect to the role of discipline in life and it HAS been featured often as the 'enemy of enthusiasm'. Children are allowed to run wild by parents who do not wish to 'squelch their natural creativity'. Yet, how could any one who thinks in logical terms believe that discipline could have a negative effect on the minds or souls of any creature? Discipline should not be defined as corporal punishment or indeed punishment at all. It is a modus operandi rather than a judgement. It allows the smooth running of society really. To say that discipline has no positive value in a person's life would be akin to stating that oil has no value in the running of any machine with gears. Discipline sorts out our lives, places our activities in order and allows smooth, painless interactions with society. Rather than diminishing natural creativity, it should allow it to blossom.

Discipline is what keeps artists and writers at their desks creating, even when they do not 'feel like it', propelling them forward to complete their work.

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