Yeah... Never really understood that word. Certainly never liked it. It just hangs there looking over your shoulder without offering any suggestion of "why." Discipline to what? To whom? The word simply doesn't connect to anything else. Instead, it surrounds itself with a fog of connotations. Rigidity. Seriousness. Self-sacrifice. Penance. Professionalism. Competitiveness. Status. Threat.

Life becomes a process to be endured rather than a gift to be shared. Perhaps "discipline" once referred to "the art of following," but it has left that meaning behind a long time ago.

Thankfully, this weapon-term is usually interchangeable with a much more useful word:


To one's art; to oneself; to one's colleagues; to one's audience.

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Jonathan Paul Cook © 2010