Ghosts of idle hours haunt the palace of good intentions. Exciting ideas for creative endeavours, uplifting prospects of academic success, the accomplished feeling of a hard day’s work — all these are good things that can slip through your fingers if the mind and heart are not guarded against the grip of vice.
Vice and virtue stand in opposition to one another. When one is fed, the other starves. In order to be a fruitful and holistic individual who can create beauty effectively and experience the depths of joy contained by life itself, the poison of vice must be checked at the door so as not to pollute that which is good — especially the desire to influence others for their betterment and your personal contentment.
Between spending hours roaming the empty streets of the internet in search of something, anything to catch your interest, or else finding yourself on a stranger’s front lawn blitzed out of your mind wondering if you’ll be alive when morning comes, the concept of vice isn’t as appealing as the magazine with its namesake makes it out to be. Instead, throughout the history of human civilization, vice is defined as points of weakness of will and unrestraint, manifesting through such lapses in moral character as envy, gluttony, lust, anger and laziness.
A successful life is composed of small moments of discipline and displacement of short-term gratification. Where vice says “do it, get the rush now,” virtuous discipline places a hand on your shoulder and beckons you to look up from your immediate circumstances at the picturesque landscape in the distance, telling you that it is possible occupy such a place by taking a road less travelled. This road is one that is full of early mornings, turned off tv screens, and nights home alone honing your craft.
Pleasure takes discipline. Vice Kills patience.
Being drawn to the place of unquenchable craving operates against the cultivation of contentment and peace on a spiritual level. You may not be bookish, but it’s possible to experience beautiful, transcendent solitude without the aid of beer or weed. Passion lingers in the depth of your personhood, and most often it is slow-burning and requires the kindling of disciplined interests and pursuits.
This takes many forms based on the natural inclination of the individual, whether it’s diving headlong into the imaginative microcosm of literary classics until the language itself drips with luxury and your mouth waters for the honeycomb of ancient ideas. It could also look like the slow grinding wheels of your mind piecing together a beat on Ableton that packs emotional punch and paints a sonic picture for the listener to get lost in.
Still, find time for the slow hours; the days where it feels like nothing tangible was accomplished, but you know your soul was touched, your mind enlivened and your spirit turned towards lofty pursuits. It is only when we are in tune with our personal passion and understanding of ourselves that we are able to effectively engage and influence others with no self-conscious timidity or questioning of our roles. Be bold in a culture of selfish consummation and desire the long-suffering pleasures of virtue and wholesome human connection.