Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 51

Midorikawa grudgingly shook his head. “Talent can be a nice thing to have sometimes.. You look good, attract attention, and if you’re lucky, you make some money. Women flock to you. In that sense, having talent is preferable to having none. But talent only functions when it’s supported by a tough, unyielding physical and mental focus. All it takes is one screw in your brain to come loose and fall off, or some connection in your body to break down, and your concentration vanishes, like the dew at dawn. A simple toothache, or stiff shoulders, and you don’t play the piano well. It’s true. I’ve actually experienced it. A single cavity, one aching shoulder, and the beautiful vision and sound I hoped to convey goes out the window. The human body’s fragile. It’s a complex system that can be damaged by something very trivial, and in most cases once it’s damaged, it can’t easily be restored. A cavity or a stiff shoulder you can get over, but there are a lot of things you can’t get past. If talent’s the foundation you rely on, and yet it’s so unreliable that you have no idea what’s going to happen to it in the next minute, what meaning does it have?”

“Talent might be ephemeral,” Haida replied, “and there aren’t many people who can sustain it their whole lives. But talent makes a huge spiritual leap possible. It’s an almost universal, independent phenomenon that transcends the individual.”

Midorikawa pondered that for a while before replying. “Mozart and Schubert died young, but their music lives on forever. Is that what you mean?”

“That would be one example.”

“That kind of talent is always the exception. Most people like that have to pay a price for their genius—through accepting foreshortened lives and untimely deaths. They strike a bargain, putting their lives on the line. Whether that bargain’s with God or the devil, I wouldn’t know.”

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

Haruki Murakami          2014

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