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“A man whose desire is to be something separate from himself, to be a member of Parliament, or a successful grocer, or a prominent solicitor, or a judge, or something equally tedious, invariably succeeds in being what he wants to be. That is his punishment. Those who want a mask have to wear it.
But with the dynamic forces of life, and those in whom those dynamic forces become incarnate, it is different. People whose desire is solely for self-realisation never know where they are going. They can’t know. In one sense of the word it is of course necessary, as the Greek oracle said, to know oneself: that is the first achievement of knowledge. But to recognise that the soul of a man is unknowable, is the ultimate achievement of wisdom.”
- From De Profundis by Oscar Wilde
Wilde’s words about self-realisation resonate completely with me. My work is not divisible from myself. And I don’t wear a mask. My creative self has evolved with my emotional, intellectual and spiritual selves. That means my past looks a little eclectic (although I detect a thread of evolution) and my future is unknowable. It’s partly why I call this substack, ‘Writing at the vanguard’. I want to be brave and in the front line of enquiry, but I am also constantly pushing my own front line forward.