The above short book is about “falling in love with the plateau.” You’re trying to improve at something, you hit a wall, or a flat zone, where you can’t improve, you just keep practicing but you’re at the same level for a long period of time.
This truly is the mystery of life, you know? Are you wasting your time, and doing something wrong? Or are you doing the necessary hard work that will eventually overcome the plateau?
In my personal life this is something I have yet to master. I’ve always preferred to be a limit-breaker, but to break the real limits in the world — the institutional limits of the system — you can’t just be an impulsive dabbler, you have to have discipline. (Easier said than done…sigh…) I have recent gotten into hitting the gym and I want to go crazy with it, but I know that it’s a process and I’ll only hurt myself which won’t accomplish anything.
As far as the political Left is concerned, I’ve been in organizations that are a flash in the pan, there-and-gone, who could maybe use more of a plateau. And then I’ve been in organizations that are all routine and no energy, who honestly need a kick, who need to be more ambitious. I’d say it roughly corresponds to broad left activist coalitions vs organized marxist groups. The activists get activated in demographic waves by major events and sometimes don’t have much of a concept of creating staying-power. They need to learn how to have weekly meetings, how to educate themselves, etc.
On the flipside you have these little marxist groups with members who will probably die of old age staying in that one organization and who know more political trivia than any human being should. If they have one thing going for them, it’s continuity — even if it’s continuity with only a few hundred people. They make constant excuses and justifications for the continued non-relevance of their group. I mean it figures; these groups take a position on everything from Syria to peanut butter, so they’re really more designed to be factions in a future unified socialist movement than the face of socialism for the public. Except of course that there is no main public face of socialism yet in the USA, making these little left groups factions of nothing.
Some excuses are legit — it’s hard to organize in capitalism when the schools and media are under the thumb of various donors, sponsors, shareholders, etc. But the rage is here, even a certain degree of consciousness is here, which in a country like the USA is pretty significant. The problem isn’t that people aren’t willing, it’s that no one is stepping up and rallying them into sustained resistance organizations in mass numbers. Time to break the plateau.