My Dear Brethren,
There is a story about the famed artist, Pablo Picasso, who was sitting in a Paris sidewalk café when a lady admirer came by and asked him to do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. “Fine,” said Picasso. He doodled a figure on the napkin, as requested, but demanded a substantial price before handing it over. Surprised, the woman declared, “But it only took you a few seconds to draw it.” Picasso replied, “No, it took me 40 years.”
Along those lines, martial artists of a certain fighting style who dedicate three hours a week in class can expect to earn a black belt after about three years, which works out to roughly 450 total hours of dojo/classroom training. Does this mean one can earn a black belt by spending 40 hours a week in a martial arts dojo during the typical college summer vacation? Certainly not. The black belt degree is built not on total classroom time, but on all of the hours, days, weeks, and months in between, when the lessons sink in and real learning takes place.
The real question we should be asking as we pursue our various endeavors is, “Where does time live?” For instance, regarding a piece of ritual one plans to present during a degree ceremony, time lives not on the evening of the presentation, but during the prior weeks or months spent on memorization and practice.
As a Masonic symbol, the hourglass with the quick passage of its sands reminds us of the transitory nature of human life. We are the sum-total of all our time spent on education, training, and practice. Early preparation does not slow down time, but allows us to truly appreciate and enjoy our successes.
Sincerely and Fraternally Yours,
Vito J. Petitti