The long road is the goal

Perfection takes practice. In the analogical noun phrase “the road to perfection” we are asked to think of perfection as a goal, attained suddenly at the end of a process. The roads we take to get from A to B are processes seen as necessary wastes of time, required by the laws of the universe and the game-theoretical truths of human existence.

However if the roads are pretty enough, if they are interesting enough the methaphorical road itself becomes a enjoyable –not just a means to an end, but a component part of that end.

Today, as I sit here rather friendless in Istanbul, listening to music, drinking a surprisingly good wine I am enjoying a new hobby –rolling cigarettes.  I am not a smoker and I do not enjoy it. In my somewhat younger days being able to roll dried leaves into smokeable cigarettes would have come in handy. I wonder what use attaining this skill will be now.

But my goal is not future gains. The process of learning how to roll cigarettes is enjoyable and relaxing. No doubt, the slowness of rolling your own cigarettes contributes to the fun of smoking cigarettes –for those who find smoking this noxious weed fun. I am sure many forced by poverty into rolling their own leaves, continue to roll when good times come, because the cheap thrill of popping a factory cancer stick fails to hold a candle to the fulfillment of rolling your own.

For me, in these difficult times, rolling the cigarette, is the means and the end. While for most people who roll cigarettes this action is a means to an end- all be it a relaxing and Zen-like road, for me it is the end. That Zen state of learning to manipulate the muscles in my forearms and fingers to roll the perfect cigarette is the long road I want to walk down.
Just like as it is on a good and painful hike, the end point is not the goal, for me, tonight rolling cigarettes I will never smoke is the goal, because inhaling caustic smoke is no goal of mine. I take my poisons liquid!


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