I have been haunted today by David Brower. “All of our victories are temporary, and all of our defeats are permanent.” I understand where that comes from, the particular context in which it was first said and what it meant, but it’s such a sweeping, compelling statement that it’s easy to internalize.
No. I can’t live on that.
All of our defeats are temporary. Moving forward from defeat, creating new opportunities from lost ones, living and learning and trying again, goddammit, is what we do. Right?
All of our victories are permanent. We carry them with us into the next defeat; they sustain us, they inform us.
All of our victories – and all of our defeats – are partial. Incomplete. Contextualized. Part of a bigger landscape of change and discovery and struggle and incremental accomplishment and hope and discouragement. Every defeat carries within it the seed of victory; the reverse is also true.
The only irrevocable thing in this world is death, and even that… well, how much of a force we continue to exert upon the world after we’re gone depends on how much of an impression we make on others, and how they are inspired by us. And we do have some power to shape that a little.
Hold your ground. Make a noise. Make a mark. Accept no defeat.