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I believe most of you are missing the point. Bukowski was arguing this in favor of doing something you truly feel passionate about regardless of whether it succeeds or not. The philosophy doesn't work well for highly specific, practical-minded goals of an emotionally ambiguous nature: If you really want to be an artist that gets his paintings on display in the met, but see that you're not getting anywhere with it, you can easily let go and move onto something else. The important thing however is that if you have a wider, more fundamental dream (say to simply live for your art and experiment with it as long as you have the faculties to do so) for which you can spend your life struggling and be happy with the process itself, despite frustrations, then you can try different practical paths to success, experiment flexibly with them as needed but take sheer pleasure in knowing that the all-in journey was worth it even if some specific ideal destination wasn't reached. Considering it this way takes survivorship bias, luck and low probabilities into consideration but with an awareness that even if they might sideline you, the overall effort was simply how you wanted to spend your life.



It's not often that I find myself wanting to quote Cavafy:

    When you depart for Ithaca,
    wish for the road to be long,
    full of adventure, full of knowledge.
    Don't fear the Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
    the angry Poseidon.
Thanks.


Whatever dream or wish you have, sooner or later, whether "successful" or "failed" by whatever measure, you realize that you've reached its bounds. Please don't reduce his words to pursuing something material, because it's much more than that, as hinted by:

> You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.


If you say I reduced his words to pursuing something material than you've misunderstood my point. In the most basic sense of us all having to make use of a material world to achieve anything over the course of a lifetime, then yes, all pursuits are material in some way. Beyond that however I was simply using a specific example to explain that a more fundamental understanding of what Bukowski was saying can take into account things like survivorship bias and the danger of completely impractical dreams being pursued too far while still being coherent advice about how one should live their life. This is to pursue a larger meta-dream through practical, flexible steps and never give up because the meta-dream you've chosen fulfills you spiritually in the simple pursuit. It thus does this regardless of success or failure and specific hardships. You ride life to perfect laughter because you've chosen your fundamental calling knowing its cost and sacrifices.




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