Houses and failure – Carlos Madeira

Was standing outside in the Carmichael parking lot with some friends on Sunday afternoon, admiring the piles of snow. Was temporarily blinded when the sun reflected its light off the snow.

Clear sky-

Snow reflecting

the sunlight


I really enjoyed the discussion of the burning house; a home is what the majority of people look for, in terms of stability and security. Yet the lectures of last week were all about how nothing is permanent, and how “the houses we work so hard to build…might be contributing to our unhappiness.” (Inouye, 43). This, I think, is a message that many people in our society need to hear. People who stop living now and bury themselves in ‘work’, to make money and live well later on. What they don’t realize is that later on might not arrive. Those who hold onto concepts such as “power”, “wealth”, will all have the same fate as Taira no Kiyomori, whose bones “survived only briefly before becoming one with the earth, indistinguishable from the sands on the beach” (Tale of the Heike, 212). Finally, we talked at length about success and failure, and how one always follows the other. It is easy to see failure as the end of the line, as the end of things; what is hard is to not to attribute a bad connotation to failure. Quoting Alan Watts, “Watch the flow of water when it crosses over an area of land, and you will see that it puts out fingers, and some of them stop, because they come into blind alleys. The water doesn’t pursue that course. It simply rises, and then it finds a way it can go, but it never uses any effort. It only uses weight, gravity. It takes the line of least resistance, and eventually finds a course.” We get too bogged down in our failures to realize that success means going down some other path, and not lamenting the path we took. I think that was one of the points of last week’s lectures that most resonated with me, because I feel it is important to realize that no one should be categorized by their successes of their failures; not to envy a person who is succeeding at something, and not judge one who is failing.


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