It’s always a bittersweet feeling to remember Arthur Koestler’s Dialogue with Death and the author mentioning the strong feeling of uncompromising freedom while being imprisoned against his will in a cell alone and had to listen to his comrades being executed by his enemies.
Uncompromising freedom involves not changing the world.
You can be uncompromising when you think. When you write your diary, that you never intend publish (like Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations). Or be alone in a cell and just lay all day.
Ultimate success, on the other hand, is changing the world.
Often just randomly. Look at the Guinness World Records. Ironing for more than 55 hours? Mixing 40 lions and tigers in one cage with yourself? The most tattooed person? 26000 Big Macs consumed in one life? Longest fingernails ever on a woman?
Whatever your achievement might be, from leading the most powerful country on Earth to collecting the highest number of rubber ducks it only makes sense in the light of comparing it to others’ achievements. And where is the freedom in comparisons!?
Then comes to my mind Péter Esterházy’s book, the Celestial Harmonies: “it’s not easy to lie when we don’t know the truth”
One can not be carelessly free and a game-changer at the same time, can he?
I’m pretty sure Warren Buffet is being successful by trying to create a better version of himself. His passion, habit, interest, etc. is making money through investments (and do charity). It includes earning billions of dollars.
Probably the same was true for Einstein and physics.
But what if being successful means being a good father for you? Or a beer cap collector? Or being transgender. Or…
…what if being uncompromising means for me writing articles that no one reads? I can create content that people would like and share (I think). I’d make a site with cute kitties and/or babies and positivity and porn (this last one separately). But I don’t want to. I want to write these kind of articles. Period.
It’s success by one meaning of the word “accomplishing a desired aim or result.”
But no success by the other meaning: “having achieved fame, wealth, or social status”
I’ve read once that a great surgeon is the one that can stand not operating when it’s not needed.
Maybe to become a great writer I have to stand not publishing yet and not looking for readers?
Writing these days (with very few readers who are mainly the ones that know me) feels like the Koestlerian uncompromising freedom that can not last forever…
I love it though 😉