And the award goes to David Lynch, who tweets:
You have control over action alone, never over its fruits. Live not for the fruits of action, nor attach yourself to inaction.
Sound as this might like a line he got from his guru or whomever, that doesn't make it any less useful. It also articulates a third point in a series of sub-themes to which I find myself returning again and again, to wit:
- You are what you do.
- Only your actions in the external world matter.
- You can control only what you do.
Hence my increasing focus on my own actions — especially my reactions — right here and right now, wherever and whenever "here" and "now" happen to be. Most of what I once focused on turns out to be unpredictable, uncontrollable action by-product. The varieties of this by-product are numerous, and include, off the top of my head:
- Love (the act)
- Love (the concept)
I spoke to The Livejournalist Formerly Known as cobalt999 not long ago about this phenomenon, which I think of as the mistaken desire for by-product instead of product, for second-order effects instead of first-order. Sure, it's technically possible to directly pursue this second-order stuff, but the results are grim even if you succeed: wealth for wealth's sake (Donald Trump, Donald Trump's combover), love-the-act for love-the-act's sake (those guys who take extended trips to Bangkok with suspicious frequency), love-the-concept for love-the concept's sake (barren marriages that last until the bitter end), fame for fame's sake (Paris Hilton), stuff for stuff's sake (the Collyer Brothers) and lifespan for lifespan's sake (the guy in Being John Malkovich who pees orange).
So that's why I care about what I do, how I act, the way I respond, all that sort of thing — and not too much else. But crowding obsessive, poisonous thoughts — whether positive or negative — about results, consequences, rewards, punishments, etc., turns out to be a damned tall order. But then, my pro-hard-stuff stance commits me to it, I suppose.