What we are best at comes easily to us, and we accord it little esteem.
What we are best at comes naturally, like breathing, and appears as a ‘mere’ capacity, as if lowly and meagre, but therein lies its greatness: capacity is equal to maximal power.
All things that do not come easily, in the end, are not done best. Striving for what lies beyond or at the edges of our capacity, is striving that cultivates frustration.
Those things that come hard are first motivated by the frustration of inability (incapacity), are compelled by the frustration of learning, and are closed by the frustration of incompleteness.
To be forever a student is to be forever frustrated, and to be nought but a master is to be content.
To do things that come easily is to be a master, and thus to be content.
Whilst the way of the student can be a path to becoming the master, it is the master that holds the value; the students are merely approaching and surrounding this value, grasping with outstretched hands, seeking mainly to abate the frustration of ‘that which comes hard, and is not done best’. All students wish to be a master, and all the while ignore what they have already mastered.
No matter what the end might be, or the station or rank needed, whether a master of tea, or a master of diplomacy, the relation of ease to excellence is constant, and applies to all.
To do what comes easy does not mean to do something simple or meaningless. On the contrary, the greatest athletic achievements come as easily to Husain Bolt as the greatest domestic achievements of making tea come to others, and it is by their ease and excellence that they should be esteemed great, not by the complexity/simplicity of their means and ends.
In this way it is easy to have low esteem for what we do best (what comes easily), as it is considered to be of low station and of low rank – like making tea. Yet esteem should not come from an external and interdependent relation between different means and ends, for this is relativism and frustration; mastery is impossible but from an internal relation of the operation itself: a relation between excellence and ease.
In this way, wherever excellence and ease are together, the esteem we accord the deed should be high.
With these statements we are faced with a choice: to be a student and to ever strive for what comes hard, achieving that which we cannot do best, and be frustrated. Or, to be a master: to accept what comes easy and achieve what one can do best – and be content!
Frustratingly, the choice is not binary; indeed, the choice is barely a choice. We all must be frustrated and content. We must simply understand that excellence of the lowliest thing is equal to excellence of the highest thing, and that esteem should be placed by us on the inherent ease and excellence of the deed, not on its rank or station. This way, we can all recognise the master we are, over what comes easy to us. This no meagre achievement, but an exercise of power and capacity – which should be one and the same, lest frustration abound.
I hear you ask if this not an apology for the worst crimes? Indeed, it is possible to easily and excellently practice violence and tyranny and, truly, they should be accounted for in the actions esteemed as successful, efficient and content (‘done best’).
However, moral and political condemnation of actions are external to actions themselves. The excellence, ease and achievement of that which comes easy, is internal to the deed. Violence is always the meeting of two deeds and it is in this intersection between deeds that morality can judge esteem; what inheres to the deed itself – esteemed ease and excellence – are contemporaneous with moral condemnations of the deed: disesteem.
Therefore, the moralist can esteem the ‘done best’ of a deed, as an internal achievement of the deed, whilst at the same time fiercely admonishing a deed for its politically external achievement: violence.
That which this theory truly promotes, should come easily to be done best:
1. What our power finds easy we are master of and is that which accords with our capacity
2. To be a master of capacity/power and to esteem ease and excellence (even in the so called ‘lowliest’ of actions) is to be content.
3. Our power should not extend beyond our capacity, or else we are frustrated.
4. Things that come easy should be esteemed by us, for they are excellent and are done best.