Struggle - 奮鬥 - Fèndòu
Life acquires meaning
as we face the conflict
between our desired fantasy
and the reality before us.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
Do we, as humans, possess a singular personality, or is each individual open to a varying spectrum of divergent personalities vying for control at any time? Some aspects of our personalities arise at opportune moments, imparting significant advantage in reaction time. At other times, our aspirations, long-held hopes for the future, are left without internal support. It is as if our self has been temporarily incapacitated, unable to respond naturally due to a staggering shift in mood or cognition. Only a few among us can claim to be living a truly authentic life, that is, one that is lived entirely according to one's desires. For the rest of humanity, our trip down the river of life is rife with deadly obstacles and treacherous rapids. Our inner ideas are coming into conflict with external limitations, and we are left with the question: How does one remain emotionally flexible within a chaotic universe?
Goals must be established, and one must possess a great deal of forbearance in order to persevere. The struggle itself is essential. Rice does not leave the earth white; it must be pounded and purified. Raw steel cannot impart strength to a blade without the intense dedication of the smith. Adversity is a forge, with which to temper one's mettle. Without it, we cannot know the meaning of our accomplishments. Of course, when things seem to happen without intense struggle, it does not necessarily mean we did not deserve it. Devotion pays dividends.
A musician may compose a brilliant sonata on a sunny afternoon. A sculptor may conceive of a masterpiece while sitting on a dirty stool. A writer may write pages upon pages, sharing a character's story as if it were being read verbatim. Each may gasp, surprised by the sudden surge of sincere expression. In reality, it took years of dedication and struggles to reach the skillful climax. At that moment, even the gifted savant must look back at their lifetime of conflicts and conquest and realize the ultimate benefit. Never cease to struggle, and inside you will possess a solid metal core consisting entirely of perseverance.
“Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth —
look at the dying man’s struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me
whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for