While on Table Mountain with two friends recently, we sat to take a break. In truth, two mountain goats sat to wait for a donkey to catch up and regain control of his breath. But the views from the top are spectacular and they weren't moaning. Suddenly one of them broke out into a passionate rendition of a beautiful piece of writing he had heard. The words were spot on for what John and I needed in that moment. When you spend lots of time thinking about all the the problems in the world, you can feel overwhelmed. It is much easier to pick something and crack on. The truth is, you need to manage your energy. You can't always be fighting or you won't have anything left for the next day. Galeo taught us the idea of the 'Half-Hearted Fanatic'. Always keeping something back for the moments, activities, places and relationships that feed you.
What was wonderful, is that he had internalised these words. Socrates didn't write. He thought this 'modern invention' would make people lazy. Even once there were books, the literate would studiously memorise them because chances were they would only see them once. To 'read' them again would require being able to close their eyes and recite the words in their heads. To chew on the words. To savour their meaning. It isn't good enough to know where to find something. When you are on top of Table Mountain with two friends in need of a boost, it is a powerful thing to be able to take a deep breath, and say...
"One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotised by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."
Sunshine on the Table Cloth with Galeo and John