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We learn through immersion...we become our surroundings.
If you want to learn a new language you can spend years and years studying all the manuals, and taking all the classes, and listening to all the do-it-yourself tapes, and so on and so forth...you might fully understand what someone else is saying, and be able to carry on complete conversations with an individual that speaks the language you're trying to learn - but it still isn't *quite* second nature to you, now is it? They say that the best way to learn a new language is to become engulfed in it, and it's true. That language is never going to truely become a part of who you are until you put yourself in a situation where you're going to be able to use it regularly. That just how these things work.
It's the same thing with everything else in life too.
In the movie '8 Mile' Eminem portrays his own personal transformation into the world of music. It shows how he knew how to rap, but it wasn't really what made him who he was...he didn't actually become the music (for lack of a better term) until the very end. He walked the walk - he talked the talk...but it still wasn't enough. He had to feel the music flowing through every fiber of his being. He had to push himself to become more then simply some guy that was making music - he had to transform himself into some guy that actually *was* music...and he did it by completely immersing himself in that particular scene (like when he's on the bus, or at work, or whatever...all he ever did was fine tune his skills until his very essence intertwined with the music)
Perhaps I should clarify what I'm referring too.
When you were younger and you were first learning how to swim (or ride a bike, or whatever really) chances are you weren't neccessarily 'scared' of the water per se...more likely just a bit uneasy about getting out too far and going in over your head (at least, that's how it was for me anyhow) I enjoyed the comfort of the shallow end because I knew damn well I was outta dodge there. I knew that if I ever panicked or something went wrong - I could just stand up any time I wanted to and all would be well. What I didn't realize though is that taking that proverbial plunge was pretty much neccessary in order to learn how to swim properly...the fear was (in essence) the catalyst I needed to change - without it I was just some kid that would kick my legs while I placed one hand on the floor of the pool, swung the other in the air in a swimming like fashion, and then switched hands to give the illusion I was swimming (in two feet deep water no less) Saddly enough, it wasn't even until I was in fifth grade before I finally learned how to swim for real. I was at a pool party, fucking around in the shallow end (too embarassed to admit I didn't know how to swim) when I girl I really liked convienced me to play Marco Polo or some shit in the deep end with everyone else (or something like that anyways) Naturally, I clung to the walls for dear life the entire time, and (being with a group of fifth graders) eventually my 'secret' was discovered...which inevitably lead to every one of them bastards playfully dragging my ass to the bottom of the pool, and then laughing at me while I drowned like the little bitch I was. For the first time in my life I found myself in one of those sink-or-swim situations (literally) and somehow or another I managed to survive. The ability to swim was inside of me the entire time - all I had to do was learn how to release it.
How does that fit in with what I said earlier?
That day simply awakened me to the understanding of what I could become...it opened my eyes to the fact that I didn't have to pretend to swim anymore, cause from that moment on I knew I actually could. Obviously I wasn't very good at it (at all) but I knew it was not only possible, but also that it was guaranteed. I had passed some sort of barrier...and I just knew with every fiber of my being that swimming was now a part of who I was - I could never forget how to swim, and I'd always be able to fall back on it any time I had to. At that moment I could've left it at that and reserved my 'swimming' capabilities for emergency purposes only...or...I could have expanded upon and fine-tuned those abilities until I was a world champion. After that first initial breakthough there was no cap on what I could *potentially* become. Obviously I had no real desire to be the best (or else I probably would be by now) but I did want to be efficient enough at keeping myself afloat to be able to sustain it for any considerable length of time (in case of a real emergency or something) So I practiced and practiced until I became graceful in the water, and capable of dealing with akward situations that I might not have been prepared for before...which did eventually pay off some years later when I was attempting to swim right through some really massive currents (showing off to some friends) and nearly got sucked under. I'm happy with the choices I made - and am now actually greatful that those kids decided to fuck with pretty hardcore way back when...I know I would've deprived myself of all the great times I've had throughout the years that revolved around swimming in one way or another had it not been for that single event.
Perhaps now you're thinking about my whole little: "The ability to swim was inside of me the entire time - all I had to do was learn how to release it." statement I made earlier...so let's look at another similar situation that didn't involve something I felt I started out already knowing (subconsciously or otherwise)
Writting is one of my favorite past-times...regardless if it's poetry, or short stories, or whatever. I love to write and I have for a number of years now, but that wasn't always the case. I used to despise writting of any sort - it all just seemed like a complete waste of time (much like reading this post I'm sure) But because I was always 'forced' to write in school (book reports and what have you) I eventually discovered that writting my own little stories an shit during class kept me from having to pay attention to whatever BS the teacher was preaching about, and kept me busy pretty much throughout the entire day. I no longer had to go to school (something I dearly hated) all I had to do was be present within the classroom itself while my mind was off in fantasy land thinking up new adventures I could write about. My teachers would always see me working away dilligently all day long, so none of em ever inquired about whether I was actually doing work or just doodling obscene charactures - I was, after all, keeping to myself and not disturbing the rest of the class or anything...so all was fine as far as they were concerned. And that's basically how I spent my school years - in a half awake trance expanding upon my creative ability, while the rest of my classmates learned how to be good little mindless drones. And much like the swimming incident earlier, I didn't actually reach that proverbial point of no return until some years later...again during another one of those sink-or-swim kind of moments. I found myself at a mjor crossroad in my life where I coul've easily chosen the simpler path (e.g. avoid the water all together - problem solved) or I could've chosen to push my abilities to the extreme and forced my way through that little bubble I seemed to be in at the time. I chose the later of the two paths, and tore right through that veil that was holding me back...and I have't looked back since. I'm still a long ways off from being graceful in the water, or being able to withstand those rocky currents I know I'm gonna havta face eventually...but at least I know that there's nothing holding me back from becoming every bit as good as I want to become - I can see the path quite clearly now, all I have to do is walk it.
My point is - you should never be afraid to push yourself that extra little bit. When you think that you've gone as far as you could possibly go, and you truely are giving it absolutely everything that you got - you need to reach down inside of you and summon whatever strength you need to keep on going, even if it means calling upon strength you didn't even know you had. It's just like that whole balloon analogy ---> keep blowing that bitch up until it explodes...cause only then will you realize how foolish it is to try an limit yourself like that in the first place. All the balloon does it seperate the air within it from the air that's around it...without the balloon you're free to travel to distances that that balloon would've never been able to stretch to in the first place. The balloon is not who you are - it is the 'veil' that prevents you from becomming whatever it is that you want to be.
Think about it..........
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..." T.S. Eliot
Dude, this is the third fucking time now I wanted to rate you five shrooms, and I have already done it long ago... hehe. You are up to 20 now, man.
I can relate, especially with my bass playing. I was faced with the decision, like last summer, when I decided I was going to focus on one interest career wise, and it was going to be something that was going to bring me satisfaction. I had been playing bass guitar for a year then, and I was really getting interested in it.
Well, anyways, I ended up dropping out of high school in November of my senior year, high honours student, because I knew what it was that I wished to do with my life and that I had to work on my skills towards that end NOW. That is what high school is suspossed to be, anyways. I made my decision and I still consider it one of the best I have ever made. (I, of course, went in and got my GED, no fucking problem. just walked in and got high scores).
I consider myself a bass guitarist and a metal artist. It is who I am. It is me. When I am working on my technique, it is as if I am expanding myself. I no longer question in my mind whether or not I will make it. This is why I am here, and this is what is me.
I am also currently Norwegian. I started taking free classes, and I found that the way it was being presented wasn't for me. I know my mind best, and I have a book that teaches it. I am in a house with people that have been speaking it their entire life. It surrounds me. I don't need to take three hour long classes twice a week. All I need is to find out the meanings of the words, make the connection, and have someone make sure I am pronouncing the words right and putting sentences together correctly.
But yeah, learning is the shit!
Truly great post, man, I deeply respect you. Peace.
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you
the main thing that holds us back is fear...and how great it is when fear is overcome. your language example hit it right on the nose, because so many people have told me (and it makes a lot of sense) that the only way to learn a language is to go to the country that is is most often spoken and live there.
the swimming example was the same way for me. shit you learned how to in the fifth grade, i didn't till I was a freshman in high school again because of fear.
maybe the essence lies in our desire, and when we think we have reached the top, it is because the desire or the drive in our heads has gone. after all, there's never a limit to what we can do.
maybe the essence of learning is like you said, never giving up. when we give up and when our minds tell us we have come as far as we can go, we are judging ourselves or the situation as inadequate (sp??). ahhhhhh judgement...
-------------------- Annnnnnd I had a light saber and my friend was there and I said "you look like an indian" and he said "you look like satan" and he found a stick and a rock and he named the rock ooga booga and he named the stick Stick and we both thought that was pretty funny. We got eaten alive by mosquitos but didn't notice til the next day. I stepped on some glass while wading in the swamp and cut my foot open, didn't bother me til the next day either....yeah it was a good time, ended the night by buying some liquor for minors and drinking nips and going to he diner and eating chicken fingers, and then I went home and went to bed.---senior doobie
i am sort of the opposite when i was a little kid, i was fearless any physical obstacle, i conquered it
but now, i am more scared of physical obstacles like for example, snow boarding when i attemped snow boarding, i couldnt help but to go down the slope with my back facing down. So that if i fell, i could fall foward onto my hands, facing up the slope i just cant do it, i should have started when i was little damn
-------------------- Have a Cigar, you're gonna go far