That feeling we experience when we discover something that is truly unusual in the most amazing way, something that must be ours and that will not so easily be obtained - this is what I live for. It’s not necessarily the act of becoming that greatness we have discovered, but of discovering it and becoming an indespensible piece of its existence.
When I read Atlas Shrugged, as much as I wanted to be John Galt, I found myself indentifying with Francisco much more. Now reading Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow I find that I indentify with Marx more than Sam and Sadie. Greatness can not exist in a vacuum.
Perhaps I’m at that stage in an artist’s life where one’s taste exceeds one’s abilities and thus everything I produce feels like trash, but I can recognize beauty when I see it. But I think there does exist an odd pleasure to making yourself an essential part of something great, even if you receive no visible credit for it. Contrast this with the desire to be the first author of a paper. Maybe it’s because I’ve done this now and the goal doesn’t matter anymore, but I find the idea of being in the Acknowledgements section – sincere thank you to Craig Chen for hours of productive conversation – to be much, cuter?, than being somewhere in the list of authors, nowadays.
Socially, too. There’s a joy in bringing people together. In the most selfish way possible I do congratulate myself for these successes. I understood two people well enough to estimate how they would evaluate another person. And when their friendship blooms I lap up the value that I have created. Marx didn’t bring Sam and Sadie together, but he kept them together during their worst times. Francisco’s role I can’t exactly say without spoiling the book, and for those who have read it, I admit i’m not willing to sacrifice to the extent he did.
where to look?
Greatness is everywhere. I believe one has to be a true optimist to recognize greatness. Who else sees the palace in the rubble?
So much of our day to day life, at least mine, is seen through softened eyes. I am not really seeing through my eyes when I walk to work or even do work. This is the same story you’ve heard many times, but a reminder doesn’t hurt. Nevermind being, you can not even see greatness while on autopilot.
Most importantly, look in the mirror and rewire the thought patterns that immediately pick at your skin. Greatness is something that exists only in the present; it frequents a small cafe out in the suburbs, working, waiting for you to find your way out of the depths of the city and back into the sunlight.