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IF the Will to Fall announced its presence with symptoms as uniform and unmistakable as those which indicate measles or a bad cold, it would probably have been eradicated, or a technique for combating it would have been worked out, long ago.
But unfortunately its symptoms are varied and legion. If you were to drag a dining, dancing, theater-going, middle-aged metropolitan playboy away from his merry-go-round and introduce him to an unshaven, ill-clad cracker-box philosopher dreaming in the sun, saying, "I want you two to know each other; you have so much in common," you would be thought mad, yet you would be right. The dreaming idler, the introvert, and the dancing extrovert - at the antipodes from the point of view of worldly circumstance - are motivated by the same impulse; unconsciously they are both trying to fail.
Their lives have a common denominator. "Do not act as if you had a thousand years to live," Marcus Aurelius warned himself in his maxims. All those in the grip of the Will to Fail act as if they had a thousand years before them. Whether they dream or dance, they spend their precious hours as though the store of them were inexhaustible.
But since there are as many ways of failing as there are divisions and subdivisions of the psychological types, we often do not recognize the presence of the Will to Fail in others or in ourselves. Here are a few of the innumerable ways of "acting as though you had a thousand years to live":