On Work

by Eric Chaet

If your goal is to change the world forever for better—
til it’s so changed, you can’t imagine that you have succeeded—
& will frequently feel that you will never succeed.

Those who have aimed merely to win at this or that enterprise
in the midst of the sea of those who are defeated
would put you to work as a cog, glorified or not
in their so-called successful enterprises—
commercial, ecclesiastic, political, academic
or artistic, or scientific, or whatever—
rather than cooperate with you
or relieve you of this or that set of the tasks
of your yet-to-succeed enterprise.

They will die without ever having imagined, let alone believed
that you were so engaged—& might succeed.

You will live, always all too aware
that, most probably, you will fail.

No one in the world will work more than you will.
You won’t plan or desire vacations or retirement.
Part of your work will be to find ways to work more efficiently.

You will be in charge of the work—
your body, mind, & spirit are the farm, factory, & head office—
& you will also have to do every bit of the maintenance
& all the organizing & negotiating
with those who won’t believe you are doing what you are doing.

You’ll have a staff, tho—
all the work of all the greatest specialists is yours
if you make yourself capable of using of it—
historians, engineers, sages, moguls, scientists, artists
even con-men, & those greatly deluded
& warlords, & politicians who dare not be
too much more righteous than their sponsors—
whether kings, barons, or financiers
or fellow partisans, or millions of voters—
all the discoveries, true as far as they go, & methods—
& all the infrastructure, however much some misuse it—
all these are yours as well as your perceptions & inferences
& the skills you pick up & refine by practicing.

You will be distressed by anyone’s suffering
& all the damage being done to the world & to the future—
because you are part of & one of the owners
of everyone & everything & of the future.

Your joys—brief melodies & steady rhythm underneath—
which you don’t have to seek—you’ll experience them
when, yet again, you approach exhaustion, despair
& relief—that you aren’t in command of the world—
just before you realize the possibilities
you have created with your most recent set of efforts—
will be yours for free—
infinite waves of apprehended charged events—
the fuel that allows you to persevere
while you prune your disadvantages, & develop your advantages.

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