Ne décourage pas!

Alexander Pope was born in London on May 21, 1688.

 Accepted almost on his first appearance as one of the leading poets of the day, Alexander Pope rapidly became recognized as the foremost man of letters of his age. He held this position throughout his life, and for over half a century after his death his works were considered not only as masterpieces but as the finest models of poetry.

In a well-known passage of the Epistle to Arbuthnot, Pope has spoken of his life as one long disease. He was in fact a humpbacked dwarf, not over four feet six inches in height, with long, spider-like legs and arms. He was subject to violent headaches, and his face was lined and contracted with the marks of suffering. In youth he so completely ruined his health by perpetual studies that his life was despaired of, and only the most careful treatment saved him from an early death. Toward the close of his life he became so weak that he could neither dress nor undress without assistance. He had to be laced up in stiff stays in order to sit erect, and wore a fur doublet and three pairs of stockings to protect himself against the cold. With these physical defects he had the extreme sensitiveness of mind that usually accompanies chronic ill health.

It seems that about this time, 1713, Pope’s father had experienced some heavy financial losses, and the poet, whose receipts in money had so far been by no means in proportion to the reputation his works had brought him, now resolved to use that reputation as a means of securing from the public a sum which would at least keep him for life from poverty or the necessity of begging for patronage. It is worth noting that Pope was the first Englishman of letters who threw himself thus boldly upon the public and earned his living by his pen.

Excerpts From
Pope, Alexander “The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems”

Lately I have thought about prominent people whom I know or about whom I have read. Notability and success can be enviable and instructive. What among other features of milk and honey is so often especially intriguing is how routinely the prosperity and abundance is unforeseen. It may prove to be startling to both the actor and the audience. What however I prefer to keep in mind during my entertaining research and educational derivatives of these otherwise fascinating intrigues is the critical importance of first setting one’s sights correctly. There are for example well-known prescriptions such as the adoption of “niche marketing” (narrowing one’s prospective focus) and avoidance of the “Peter Principle” (promotion to a level of incompetence). And while the intermediate range of tapered and broad may be workable and profitable, there is yet another leading clue on the pathway; namely, to be governed by what in your heart you know is right for you.

If one were fortunate to have within one’s stock of credentials good health, well-to-do family, passable intelligence, an education and the benefit of connections, there may appear to be endless avenues of pursuit. At a minimum this overview mandates endorsement of the roadway, the vehicle of transport and the predictable end of the road (though naturally I acknowledge the limitless possibilities, both good and bad, affecting each over time). But even without that axiomatic qualification that is not all. Life is not that easy; which is to say, one cannot rely solely upon others as a travel agent. The paramount governor of conduct must no matter what the foreseeable inevitability be always one’s instincts.

Dear Reader, I shall spare you the surplusage of analysis of instinct other than to reiterate it is both meaningful and inescapable. In this respect instinct is uncompromising and indispensable. These are in my opinion solid recommendations. For example I have witnessed the miserable outcome of those who had all the favourable credentials to which I earlier alluded but they misdirected themselves on the strength of less potent sign posts many of which were sadly no more than the milestones which others have previously followed.

If, Dear Reader, you will further forgive my lapse into a seemingly mystical reverie at this point, I wish merely to emphasize that there is no success as abundant or gainful as self-satisfaction.  Now I recognize that proclamation initially sounds hopelessly misconceived or air-headed, but the tragedy of misalignment on this particular imperative is among other things there is only so much one can eat, there is only so large one’s cave must be, living without questions means having more answers.  What mustn’t confuse need with greed, capacity with sagacity, reckoning with reasoning.

Without further entertaining psychiatric matters related to over-work, related alcohol and drug addiction, unnecessary compromise, useless ambition, unwanted society and the distortion and corruption of one’s insides (both mentally, physically and emotionally), there is plainly an undeniable facility and agreeability listening to one’s own parameters. Granted there may be compromises but to me those are no different from or less desirable than obstructions to avoid complications; just one more impediment out of the way.