A Dialogue


[The following conversation is between a young man named Pierre, and a middle-aged man named Steve. In front of Pierre is a plate with a burger with a bit of barbecue sauce dripping from the side, as well as hash browns. Steve is drinking a glass of vodka.]

[Loud sigh]

[Steve leans back in his chair and rests his sandaled leg on the other] “What’s the problem?”

[Pierre leans forward, putting his head in his hands] “There are so many things I want to do, but I don’t have time to work on them all. In fact I have less than half the time I need to work on half of them. I need more time!”

“Well, Pierre, what are your projects?”

“I want to get better at drawing. I used to spend hours at a time just drawing. Now I can barely fit it in on my lunch break or before I go to bed.”

“Why do you care about drawing? I mean, why worry about it if you’re so busy in the first place?”

“Because it’s just something I’ve always done. I see patterns everywhere and I just feel the urge to represent them somehow.”

“So what do you want to accomplish drawing-wise?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll ever be done figuring it out. I just jump in and produce work, and I know I’ll end up with a direction.”

“But why even worry about it if you don’t know what you want to make? When you get an idea just write it down and do it later.”

“I guess you could say I have an idea of what content I want to produce, but what form do I use? All I know is I like to draw things, like betel trees for example, but I want to make it something more.”

[Waving his hands] “So just draw those.”

[Leaning back in his chair] “But I have no time!”

“Well, Pierre, what are you doing all day that requires all your precious time? Why not stop the other things so you can sit and make pretty pictures of betel trees?”

“I need to work.”

“Why do you want to do that?”

“So I can feed myself.”

“Why do you want to do that?’


“Well, what’s more important? You need money to live, not drawings.”

“That’s just it Steve; I don’t even believe that eating is more important. Working and shopping and planning are just necessary from moment to moment until it colors all the months that go by. And after a while that’s who I become. I guess that’s my real fear. Not the lack of drawings.”

“So what would you do with all those hours if you could buy food and clothes and stuff without working for them? Would you just spent all that time on your drawings and your thoughts and whatever other projects you have?”

“I’d like to think so. I’d have total freedom not to worry about necessities. I could focus all my energy on things that really matter.”

“And work doesn’t matter, but art does?”

“Well, I wish my art could be my work. My time would be much better spent. I’m much more fit for that kind of thing.”

“But what if this whole [places his sandaled foot back on the ground] process is actually good for you? What if it’s your carefree style that needs the inner child carved out of it?”

“But that still leaves me with the problem of how much time I have left to spend on my personal work. I could take my work seriously; delve into it and really dig deeply into the subjects I care about.”

“But maybe your life’s work doesn’t have to be on paper.

“What do you mean?”

“What if you just draw things in your head? Why can’t you just be satisfied imagining the patterns? Why do you need to make it so other people see them?”

“Because I want it to be there. Stuck. I want to capture time.”

“Time time time time time. There’s that word again.”

“Like sand slipping through my fingers…”

“I’m getting the sense that it doesn’t quite matter how much artwork you produce. Your obsession isn’t going to go away by chasing it, it seems to me.”

“…but I’d still like the opportunity to focus my energies elsewhere. The time to just look at what is and not be a soldier in the army of rex negotium.”

“Pierrrrrre, man listen. It’s not some big complex problem. If that’s what you want, then just do that.”


“Go back to work tomorrow. Do you what you have to do. But as you’re doing it, don’t get stuck playing all the little mental games that go with it.”

[Squinting] “Mental games.”

“Mental games. Focusing on all the wrong stuff. Do you ever catch yourself getting bored at work?”

“Of course. Every day. I feel like all the hours I work are just pieces of my life that I’m trading away just to be able to live. Isn’t a short life better than doing something I get bored of?”

“But that’s really who you are then when you’re working, aren’t you? Not a guy who dresses up and does a job, or a guy who works for a boss, or gets a paycheck or whatever. Your mind is doing this [pointing frantically in all directions] and you’re frustrated because what you’re spending time on doesn’t meet the needs of your brain. You want all the experiences in your life to just satiate your hungers. You want to build a routine out of not having a routine! For all the people and challenges of everyday life to hunch down to your level instead of reshaping you. What you really want is not to be challenged, since the things you claim to be interested in aren’t challenging to you; just hobbies. No matter how intellectual you think they are, no matter how refined, no matter how much you ‘like’ them, they won’t make you stronger or better than you are now. You’ll make your art and continue to recede into your head until the work won’t have anything real to depict. Real art comes from struggle. Beautiful forms come from struggle. Make yourself the artwork. Cultivate a style worth capturing. Even if it’s invisible. Even if you can’t put it in a museum. Don’t just contemplate the passage of time.”

[Pierre frowns and goes silent for a moment. Steve finishes his vodka and places it loudly on the table in front of him.]

[Looking up at Steve] “But, Steve, aren’t you basically a full blown alcoholic? Why do you live like this if you believe what you’ve just said?”

“Because pal, I’m too comfortable. I’ve got everything I need. And what I need now [standing] is another drink.” [Walks away.]

[Pierre sits by himself, staring emptily at his meal. He stands up and leaves without eating.]



“The ‘greater holy war’ is man’s struggle against the enemies he carries within. More exactly, it is the struggle of man’s higher principle against everything that is merely human in him, against his inferior nature and against chaotic impulses and all sorts of material attachments. This is expressly outlined in a text of Aryan warrior wisdom: ‘Know Him therefore who is above reason; and let his peace give thee peace. Be a warrior and kill desire, the powerful enemy of the soul.'” (Bhagavad-Gita 3.43)




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