What is it that I want to learn? I do not want to acquire skills. Skills are silly things that come and go throughout one’s life. They are temporary, conditional things. It seems that I want to learn something permanent. I want to learn the art of living. For this is what I do most of the time. I simply live. It is a wild jump of the imagination for a tree, whose simple purpose is to live inside its environment, to want to acquire skills, and do things, and become good and admirable at things, as though it could conquer some kind of immortality by leaving its condition. I have wanted to escape my condition. But my roots crave the ground. More than anything, I have longed to stay. And yet, these impulses. To leave, to go look for something. These flickers of electricity. What might they be? Have I been conditioned to look for things that do not exist? It is perhaps a cultural disease. Or a human disease. The hero’s journey syndrome. But the hero leaves home only to realize he had been where he wanted to all along. He never finds anything of value that he didn’t already possess. Leaving accomplishes nothing but this realization. Perhaps the only skill worth acquiring is that of being happy with what one has. There is nothing lost, nothing to be found in the outside.
Most of all, what I have wanted to learn is authority. I have longed for the kind of authority that comes from within, that is not externally granted. Skills will give you that kind of externally granted authority. But authority over oneself will yield skills of a different nature. Authority will invent a new set of skills, not to be found in culture, and will create the means to develop them. Anyone can play the piano well if they practice enough and effectively, but few people can own the piano, invent it from scratch. And the piano isn’t worth playing if one does not invent it.
The hero’s journey has currently been reduced to schooling. One wants to learn something. One looks for a school. One gets in. One learns nothing. One goes back to one’s mediocre life and resigns to it. For that which can be taught in school has already been invented. And the only learning worth pursuing in life is that of invention. One enters school to abdicate from this learning, to let go of one’s authority. And at this point, all is lost. One will only learn to conform to standards, to further imprison oneself, to define oneself by the invention of others.