“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” – William Blake

Dear Students,

Both my experience as myself and my observation of others as themselves has taught me Blake’s line is true.

Excess of headlines, excess of thought, excess of sleep, bbq, lecturing, hope, anger, shuffleboard, excuses, work …. excess of anything leads the normal human’s mind to distaste.

Distaste leads to embarassment at finding oneself engaged in an act for which one has acquired distaste.

Embarassment leads to change. And change in a hurry. In the direction opposite from distaste.

——eg; overdrinking. you wake up in the morning after a night of excess and bang, distaste. you hate what you’ve done, and then, bang again, embarrassment sets in, and you vow in that minute to never drink again.————

Knowledge is good. But it is merely a first step.
Wisdom is when we take knowledge and apply it to life.
What Blake points to here, in my sense of it, is that what moves the human being to the wise act is the embarrassment at having walked the road of excess.

I bring this up why?
As students what you are at school for is change.
I know you think it’s to learn something but that’s wrong.
Or, not exactly right.
If you were there to become a brain surgeon, then, yes, you’d be there to learn.
The causes of brain injury. The steps involved in reparative surgery, etc.
But you’re there to advance in your abilities as practitioners of an art form.
Or, at least, a form of communication that happens inside and for which there exists no definitive number of steps from beginning to end that when followed turns you out as “a copywriter”.

You are there to change from someone who can’t into someone who can.
Sometimes from someone who can a little into someone who has added understanding.
Sometimes from someone who always could but didn’t into someone who feels confident enough to once in a while do.
Sometimes all that happens is a student discovers themself to be (or not be) what they always thought they were.
It’s change you’re after.

You have a week of school left.
Probably half of your book is done.
You’ve got almost enough done to skate through portfolio review, but not more.
You feel the need for the other half of your book to be better than the half you’ve got.
At the same time you feel you’re done with school.
What you have is a conundrum.
I know the feeling.
(warning: it never goes away)
Here’s what to do:
You’ve got nothing left to learn.
You’ve got plenty left you can change.

I have a suggestion.
Whatever you can think that’s too personal.
Whatever you can think that risks embarrassment.
Whatever you can think that points at a truth you feel that you’re afraid other people don’t feel but you suspect they maybe feel but don’t talk about.
Do it.
Let the embarrassment roll over you.
It is the one sure motivator I know of.