How easy it is to say that you will not be broken. How easy it is to believe, convinced of your correctness, certain of its truth, that the world may never wear you down, that it may never beat you to the brink, to the very point, of submission; that, no matter what, you will never shatter into a thousand pieces, least of all by the world. How easy it is to fool yourself ad nauseam, deluding yourself into thinking that you will forever stand, like immortal God before mere humans, untouched by the world, unhurt and unscathed, till the end of eternity and perhaps even beyond.

Words are not actions.

It is impossible to deny that you can get lucky in this world: you can have the luck, the sheer glorious luck, to be able to do what you want, to be able to love what you do, and, most importantly, to be able to want to do what you love. You can have the benefit of being a genius, the advantage of connections, the power of money and influence on your side; you can be king of the world, or master of a few; you could wallow in filth, live in decay, dwell in pestilential surroundings, in dingy, broken homes. You could be anything or anyone in the world, and there is no way that it can be denied that you might one day rise to be greater than mere mortals, to a height unimaginable, on the tips of everyone's tongues. No, this is a sacred truth of life: that there is always a way to get what you desire most; the difference between what happens next and what you want to happen is in the choices you make.

But the choices that can be made are not the subject here.

Anyone who has ever been alive knows that life is not easy. There will be choices that will pit you against the most dreaded monsters that lurk in your mind; choices that arouse the terrible, choking cloak of fear that descends on your lungs, your skin, your heart; choices that can mean the difference between the relentless flow of life and the blessed peace of death. We are nothing more than rocks before a pounding river, forever weakening against its force, breaking, slowly, gently, almost unconsciously, into tiny fragments that simply float away, or perhaps descend beneath the wrath of the raging river, never seen again. No matter what we do, what we attempt, what we risk, we will always be rocks. Like all things, we will fade. Like all things, we will end.

In this node are written accounts of hopes and dreams, love and beliefs, ideals and bitter, cruel reality. In this node are also written accounts of great, glorious success, or pure, sheer happiness, the ecstasy of dreams achieved, goals met, hopes fulfilled. Yet for every success story, for every instance of love, for every joyous thought in this world, there lie two hundred failures, three cases of hate and murder and untold violence, and ten thoughts of misery. The world breaks us, bit by bit, inch by inch. It forces us to change, or accept what we have and live with it. Never mind those silly, naïve dreams of the past. Never mind what could be, what could have been; never mind a foolish relic of the ancient past. It makes us turn traitor to our own notions of perfection, to our own principles, to the bedrock of every soul. We live, half-asleep, in a world we think we understand but don't, trying, and failing, to beat its relentless march, till weariness and exhaustion make us stumble along, forever bitter, in the path life has set before us, in the rut we must survive, day after day after endless, ceaseless, tedious day, forgetting what we once imagined could have been, should have been, would have been, if only to cope with the sheer impact of the raging, shrieking river.

There is infinite sadness within this finite world. Each step you take is marked with resentment, or hate, or anger, grief, remorse, misery, suffering. We may struggle, we may fight, we may rebel, but ultimately we will bend, and from there is but a short step to kneeling, and ultimately, to the chains that bind us for the remainder of our lives. We are not gods, after all; we too are bound by the laws that govern this world. If we choose to try and fight those laws, we are worn down, bit by bit, by the numerous struggles we must face, on the road ahead, by hundreds of seemingly petty disappointments that nonetheless hurt us, in some deep, private part of ourselves.

The world breaks everyone. It tames their wild, roaring spirits, and turns them into tame, meek beasts that struggle to rise above apathy and self-obsession. There is no cure for these, no remedy. But I would be a liar were I to say that no cure exists for those who still struggle, who have not yet given up, not yet settled into the mild boredom that steeps each passing day. It is no easy cure, no easy remedy; I doubt there are people who believe in its effectiveness any more, it being so commonly repeated to those who want comfort and inspiration for the battle, nay, war ahead. I will say it anyway:

Don't fight.

Do not fight against the laws of the universe; struggle only damages you more. A conflict arises only because of a difference: a difference, perhaps, between what you want, and what you have. Eliminate this difference. Eradicate every last bit of it; alienate the very concept from your life. If you truly want something, and you only have so much to work with, then do something about it. Get more tools, more people; if what you have is not enough then get more. Make plans, set a target, and reach the darned goal already. You must cease to care if it effects life-changing upheavals. You must abandon every conflicting desire within you; you must be totally devoted to what you want. If you wish to help people, help them better than the gods themselves could have. If you wish to sweep streets, sweep it as if its cleanliness was more than a mere matter of life and death. It is only when you pursue with dogged determination, when you choose to want to weave magic from your very fingers and thoughts, when all you want is to do something, then do it better than any other person in the world, and pursue that dream to the very corners of the Earth. The heavens themselves will part for someone who works to the very soul, to the slimmest thread of flesh, blood and bone, for it.

Persist, and do it best. That, and only that, is the key to the chains with which we are broken.

And now I descend from the pulpit.