"All you have is today."

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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KRay93
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Re: "All you have is today."

Post by KRay93 » 26 May 2018, 18:52

Although Duke claims to live in this way, after reading the book, I get the feeling that he does it to forget his past and ignore his future. As for me, I think that living too much in the present can be dangerous. Our actions have consequences. To live the moment is, in part, to ignore these consequences, since its effects will influence the future.

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Post by lavellan » 26 May 2018, 23:20

I think that you should focus on the present, but you shouldn't ignore the pasts. The problems of the future are often linked to mistakes that weren't learned from.

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Post by Yolimari » 28 May 2018, 06:30

I think Duke was a complicated person. He definitely lived in the moment. I could not imagine him living a normal life.

I think that what he meant by saying that to Gary was that it was okay to be different and enjoy it. I think Duke was satisfied by his nomadic lifestyle as an entertainer. I think he wanted Gary to stop messing up so he could find his purpose and direction in life. That is why he wanted Gary to sober up.

Problem is that Duke was addicted to meth. He never stopped using it. Note how he advices Gary to sober up but gave him meth. I think it helped him deal with his past and edgy lifestyle. The sword swallowing act was dangerous every time he did it. He used the drugs and alcohol to deal with it too.

Gary was an addict as well because he had an alcoholic mother, meaning he also struggled with his past. Gary and Duke had broken homes in common.

I try to live in the present but not living la vida loca like Duke and Gary. I think about consequences. Thinking too much about the past and the future is not good for the health.
"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it."

-Gabriel García Márquez

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Post by Supergirl1 » 28 May 2018, 07:15

As appealing as the idea of living in the present sounds, the truth is most humans crave security. And security comes from planning for the future (worrying, if you will).
So yes, unlike Duke, I am quite worried about the future.

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Post by gkgurley » 28 May 2018, 14:28

I noted this quote as well because this is very true of someone stuck in survival mode, but it's also a wise insight of a mindful and grounded person. At first, this was a motto Duke could use to allow himself to be reckless. If life isn't guaranteed, if there's no stability, then why not drink, do drugs, and stick swords down your throat. But, the way he relates the quote to life in the end comes from a wiser, more mindful place. If life isn't guaranteed, then make the most of your time by loving people and pursuing your truth. It's interesting how many different ways this sentiment can be applied.

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Post by prospero360 » 30 May 2018, 09:14

I 100% agree with this statement.

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Post by Nena_Morena » 30 May 2018, 21:51

I completely agree with what was said above. Personally, I used to be someone who was stuck in the past, but with time I learned how to enjoy the moment. I didn't agree with Duke's idea of the future, because everything we do today affects our future in some way.

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Post by cristinaro » 31 May 2018, 06:15

My idea is that Duke is actually a product of his past, that is, of his dysfunctional family. He never seems to be able to get rid of his addictions or to start living a more responsible life. I know that Gary sees him as a model, a revelation in his life, but he is far from that. I also don't think his philosophy of life is the most productive one. The past is part of who we are and we need to think things ahead in the future. As far as I am concerned, I am trying to find the right balance in my life, living the present, but learning from the lessons of the past and keeping an eye open for a better future.
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Post by lesler » 31 May 2018, 18:38

Duke was definitely living this motto, as he almost guaranteed himself an early grave.
I find myself always looking forward, without taking the time to enjoy the present. I need to work on that.

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Post by Oceanside » 01 Jun 2018, 00:08

I think Duke took that statement a bit overboard at times, but to each his own. I've lived through cancer so I definitely think I try to live by that statement. I don't go out and have people staple money to my chest, but I try to forgive easily, be slow to anger, and show kindness where I can so that each day can be enjoyable. We never know how much time we have left. Duke and Gary's drug abuse could possibly be about getting away from the past, but I think living in the moment was also part of it.

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Post by CataclysmicKnight » 03 Jun 2018, 12:31

Personally I do a blend of both. I set goals for myself and I accomplish what I can toward them, which is looking toward the future, but I also do my best to never worry about the future or feel to terrible about the past. Living in the moment is vital, but as someone who works from home, when I "forget" to work for a week because I'm so caught up in a new game release I do end up paying for it later :shock2:
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Post by Mely918 » 05 Jun 2018, 16:56

I think everyone is susceptible to falling away from living in the present moment. Some are more than others. I, personally, find myself more focused on the future than the present.

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Post by Riszell » 06 Jun 2018, 01:52

While everyone can learn from the past and plan or prepare for the future, the time to act is today or the present time.
When thinking about life, remember that no amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future. So what matters is what you do today, the present.

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Post by Jkhorner » 06 Jun 2018, 09:50

I think there is some value in forgetting the past and living for the present, but at the same time I don't think it is a wise philosophy to live by. The past exists to prevent us from repeating our own mistakes. The future gives us hope, and causes us to be more circumspect about how we live today.

Duke definitely lived by this sentiment. It's the only way I can account for his decisions to continue in a dangerous lifestyle of swallowing swords and taking methamphetamine. Neither of those actions particularly point forward, nor do they acknowledge the mistakes they were in the past.

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Post by uyky » 06 Jun 2018, 11:02

I did not read this book, but this has caught my eye. In my opinion, your yesterdays make you who you are today and your tomorrows make you strive to be the better/same/different version of yourself (no matter what is your definition of that). And even if you can put tomorrows aside, you can never get rid of the past. If it made you change yourself or just convinced you to hold to your values, it is always the backbone of your character, behavior, decisions and everything else. Each of us lived to what they are today.

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