Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2016 Message - “En Pointe” is 'To the Point'...of Life.

As 2015 fades away, for many becoming yet another digitally logged chapter of an ever more cyber-merged and so unconsciously cyber-led existence, the time is apposite to awaken the sense of self; and so the innate potential within all.

Becoming “all you want to be” is of course as much about the journey as the destination; the never-ending formation of self.

Past ages revered those wise sages who could guide the consciousness of the many as part of a desire for greater civilisation. The edicts of 'big thinking' morphed into the everyday actions of people; the realm of philosophy then seemingly so much more apparent than today.

Though this be true as a consequence of our complex modern age, its demands and distractions, efforts toward high-mindedness have resurfaced, and increasingly disseminated amongst the increasing many, not just the academic few, obviously thanks to the global reach of the net.

New-new-age provision by the likes of popular thinkers ranging from the proto-Marxist Slavoj Zizek to the Capitalism-subsumed Alain de Botton.

The former is known for his characterful idiosyncratic manner, loquaciousness and pop-culture allegories, but ironically given his apparent academic remoteness offers very prescient prescriptions for life in the real world. The latter is far more commercially attuned as the scion of a very wealthy financier family, today seeking to expand the popularity and 'monetisation' of his 'School of Life', which offers lessons in 'being' far less insightful (than Zizek), but far more easily applied as the 21st century version of Deepak Chopra.

[NB The irony of course that such insights are today seemingly more palatable through a softly-spoken WASP mouthpiece to an aspirant, increasingly 'middle-class', global audience. Others who seek to make their mark by merging wealth, philanthropy and philosophy, perhaps best exemplified by George Soros, might seek to emulate de Botton's approach].

For all such good intentions, and the positive impact of Zizek, de Botton et al, fact is that for most the recognition of such ideals is the simple part, far harder is demonstration of such ideals in word and action.

With this in mind, investment-auto-motives suggests that the beginning of becoming “all that you can be” might stem from the advantages of simple, unwavering personal focus; whether for purely personal, amateur or professional reasons.

Such targeted application not only provides a central aim in life, but provides the basis for a high mindedness which in turn fosters moral fortitude. 

In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell highlighted the 10,000 hour rule; notionally the time expended to become proficient in a specific activity. Yet whilst nothing is gained without the time absorbed by dedication, this is overtly simplistic; people absorb, evolve and improve at different rates given their individual propensity and the size of the task undertaken.

Most find it better to be inspired by the achievements of 'the best in their field', where names such as Tazio Nuvolari or Ayrten Senna are renowned as 'the gods' of motor racing, whilst names such as Christiaan Barnard or Sanjay Gupta represent the heady heights for first term medical students.

Yet for a sense of true dedication, the literal pain of the process, and the zen-like qualities necessary – both absorbed and radiated – the journey of the Prima Ballerina from childhood to zenith says it all.

Whilst Darcey Bussell raises the profile of male dancers today, led by Carlos Acosta and others  - necessary to bolster the under-populated male ranks - the highly demanding roles of classical and contemporary ballet requires that a female dancer must physically and mentally exert herself far harder in comparison to the male.

For her the journey to mental and so physical strength is more tortuous, whilst men leap and hold in accordance to their naturally stronger capabilities, women must obtain a reach and perfectly held contorted posture that comes far less naturally. Only achieved through far more blood, sweat and tears.

The Prima Ballerina therefore is not simply a metaphor for personal dedication but the living embodiment of the philosophical growth path, whereby the conventional human condition must be overcome and directed to fulfil its innate potential.

To this end, the personal strength required of many a teenage hopeful should be a lesson to us all.

As such, 'En Pointe' is very much “To the Point”...of Life