The whole point of the dancing is the dance

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“In music one doesn’t make the end of a composition the point of the composition.  If that were so the best conductors would be those who played fastest, and there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to concerts just to hear one crashing chord; because that’s the end!

But we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our every day conduct. We’ve got a system of schooling that gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded. And yeah, you go to kindergarten, and that’s a great thing, because when you finish that, you’ll get into first grade. And then you get out of grade school you go to high school….

Then you’re going to go to college, and by jove then you get into graduate school, and when you’re through with graduate school, you’ll go out to join the world. And then you get into some racket where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make. And you’re going to make that.

And all the time, this thing is coming, it’s coming, it’s coming—that great thing, the success you’re working for.

Then when you wake up one day about forty years old, you say “My God! I’ve arrived! I’m there!” And you don’t feel very different from what you always felt. And there’s a slight letdown, because you feel there’s a hoax. And there was a hoax. A dreadful hoax. They made you miss everything. By expectation.

Because we’ve simply cheated ourselves, the whole way down the line. We thought of life by analogy was a journey, was a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end. And the thing was to get to that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.

But we missed the point the whole way along.

It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing, or to dance, while the music was being played.”

-Alan Watts

Sometimes it feels like we are all in an elusive pursuit of the abstract and unattainable, like notions of “happiness” or “success”. And so we rush through life and go through the motions, thinking that if we make some more money or win some more recognition we’ll have finally hit the jackpot.

But then we lose sight of it all and we lose sight of the music in our desperate scurry towards the end and then when it does end we realize that the point all along had just been to listen.

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