Having knowledge is sort of like having the right ingredients to bake a cake. Both knowledge and ingredients alone are incomplete.
Knowledge only becomes wisdom when its ingredients are mixed together properly and cooked in the oven of experience for the right amount of time.
The problem with that analogy is there can be no perfectly prescribed recipe for turning knowledge into wisdom—for turning goals, desires, and values into the mature perspective required to achieve them.
Following a quick “how to” recipe would be much easier than trying to incorporate circular lessons from a seventy-day story about a four-year journey.
But even without an exact prescription, wisdom and maturity are always sequential; and their sequence is something we can learn to pick up on and follow in time.
I once wrote this (while high):
“I’ve come to find that using weed every night isn’t really keeping me from working on this story. But I know there are other important things I have to finish before this story is complete. To do those other things well, I definitely need to get high less than every single night.
“All you really have to see is what has to happen next.
“Instead of trying to plan out all your different goals, just consider the timing of each next step—which next steps toward which goals must come before which next steps toward others.”
Overcoming your current limitations and addictions will improve every important area of your life. If you weren’t being held back in important ways, you’d have no reasons for wanting to change, right?
What you’re being held back from are your reasons and your goals.
We’ve seen so far that recording and preparing to share over time makes everything you’re currently being held back from (and held back by) inescapably obvious to you.
Call that knowledge.
To pick up on the sequence that reliably cooks knowledge of your current state into wisdom and maturity to change, you only need to pay close attention to which steps from which important goals must come before which steps from others.
Again, there’s no recipe. Each and every detailed requirement for all the steps you have to take can’t really be known or planned out in advance.
Here’s something else I once wrote while high:
“If even an omnipotent being can’t steer a parked car, does that mean you should just force yourself to follow some random course and wait to be ‘steered’ if the direction turns out to have been wrong?
“It’s almost like watching something happen to and through you without you having to force anything at all—as if desires, passions, intuitions, and values use your life to flash themselves more into being, taking you with them (at least in part), however that specifically looks for you.”
The high thoughts I just shared remind me of these lyrics from the Green Day song, Good Riddance: “Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go. So make the best of this test and don’t ask why. It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time. It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right. I hope you had the time of your life.”
You might wish you could predict in advance every detail of how your future will play out; but that’s just not how life works. Moving forward in life requires a momentum so wide and powerful that it sweeps through every disparate layer at once, harnessing deep and connected forces to transcend limited thought patterns by aiming at core values, etc.
The exact way your growth process plays out can only make sense as it occurs, in each moment.
Maturity can’t be planned. Recording and sharing just make the details and effects of your current immaturities impossible to go on tolerating indefinitely.
I still face a host of daunting limitations and annoying compulsive behaviors to overcome; but all I need to see is what must come next in my sequence.
For me to give up now would be like flinging myself off of my own staircase after having already been half-carried halfway up.
I can no longer ignore the importance of the next steps I’m being half-carried to.
What do I mean by “half-carried”?
It sounds a lot like I’m saying you don’t have to actually do anything, right—that your addiction will take care of itself as you see your own experience over time?
What part, if any, does willpower play?
That’s what we’ll start to look at tomorrow.
P.S. By the way, whenever I mention song lyrics, I’m not claiming to understand what the lyricist was actually trying to say. I can only share what the words have meant to me.