Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

Exclusive Interview with Resistance

I first met Resistance as a child. My science project was due on a Thursday and I procrastinated until late Wednesday night. I just couldn’t bring myself to start. Throughout the night I clipped pictures, drew diagrams, created graphs and glued them to the three-panel display board. Something whispered in my ear the whole time: stop, take a break, give up, this is bad, you will fail, why even try.

I now know that voice as Resistance. So, as you can imagine, my stomach tightened as Resistance walked through the doors of the café last week for our interview.

photo credit Geir Halvorsen (Creative Commons)

photo credit Geir Halvorsen (Creative Commons)

Thank you for meeting with me and answering my questions.

Well, my PR agent put me up to it. I have been getting a lot of bad press lately. He thought I should set the record straight. I usually lay low. But, you know, times are changing.

Yes. You have received a lot of press since Steven Pressfield published his book The War of Art last year. People seem to be talking about you all over the place.

I know. My lawyers are drawing up the libel lawsuit now. That [censored] Pressfield has something coming. He thinks he can threaten my livelihood without a little pushback.

The worst thing, for me, is that people think he created me—as if I was born just last year. [censored]! I’ve been around since the beginning. Perhaps you have heard of my other names: procrastination, doubt, distraction, self-judgment.

When the first man decided to paint on his cave wall, I was there telling him that his mastodon looked stupid and that his woman would probably leave him because of it.

Whenever and wherever someone has decided to create, build, improve, or grow, I was there.

Who do you think destroyed philosophers, silenced inventors, obstructed reformers, and whispered in betrayers’ ears? It wasn’t Pressfield!

My record speaks for itself.

Why do you think that man is just as mean, self-centered, bored, and lazy as ever?

You have a point. What are some of your favorite accomplishments?

That’s just it. You will never know. When I do my job right, there is nothing to show for it. My calling card is the book never written, the song never sung, the painting never completed, the organization never formed. I am nothing and I leave nothing in my trail.

All that said, I was on a streak in the Middle Ages. Good times.

Steve Pressfield said of you: “If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.” How do you respond to that?

Listen. It’s not personal. I don’t hate people. I just have a job to do.

You don’t blame gravity for keeping you grounded. Do you? I just want to keep people grounded. Your life is not that bad, why are you trying to change it? Do you really want to go through the trouble of making a movie when you could just watch one? writing a book when you could just read one? starting a community program when you could just give a few bucks to one?

If everyone will just accept the reality of this world and quit trying to mess it up with “improvements” then I would leave them all alone.

Besides, why is everyone blaming me? I didn’t make your circumstances the way they are. I didn’t surround you with demanding and insatiable people. I didn’t decide that a day would last only 24 hours. It seems like there is a lot more blame to spread around.

So you are saying none of this is your fault?

I just want things to return to how it was so that I can do my job in silence.

Those people spreading lies about me should prepare themselves. I am going on a little tour. First stop, Pressfield’s house. Next I am coming for Miller, Goins, and Hyatt. If the renaissance and the reformation couldn’t stop me, I am not stopping now.

I have a role to play.

What would the world be like without me? Anyone would be able to freely create, change, grow, or live. What would be the fun in that?

What is your first memory of Resistance in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

About Josh

  • sanela lindsay

    Hi Josh,
    here I am again with the semantics…do you think that perhaps the word inertia (according to the dictionary:
    1. the state of being inert; disinclination to move or act
    2. (Physics / General Physics) Physics
    a. the tendency of a body to preserve its state of rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force
    b. an analogous property of other physical quantities that resist change) would be a better word than Resistance. Maybe it’s only me, but when I see the word resistance, I think of something generally positive: resistance to temptation, the French resistance, etc.

    Inertia might be a bit too Latin and too much related to physics, but it describes perfectly the analogy in the states of body, mind and spirit. There is a perfect example that some of the basic laws in physics could apply to our minds too.

    Inertia is one of the main forces in nature, and I do believe that struggling with it is our main battle in life- this is also an interpretation of the word jihad by some Muslim scholars, (unfortunately, they were obviously not heard much).

    My first memory of resistance is when I was 8-9 and had a fun race with my cousins, with all of our parents watching. I was never a good runner, and I just couldn’t make myself even try, persuading myself that I would be the last anyway. I felt terrible standing on my own, but I just couldn’t move. I hated myself, but nevertheless it was a good experience, it made me more ready to fight inertia and avoid feeling like that again.

    Sanela Lindsay

    P.S. As I grow older, I use word fight less. I think that a good life is not a fight, but rather like walking on the rope, requires a lot of balancing…the same with resistance, maybe we should just tread carefully around it, even sometimes let it win, for how else we would know life fully?

    • Josh

      Sanela, Great thoughts!

      I have been thinking about you comment all day. In many ways inertia can be added to resistance as “enemies of action.” Inertia keeps us from starting. An object at rest stays at rest. (Resistance plays a part in that e.g. the resistance of the ground on a car is why it is hard to push). So inertia is a tendency not to change. Resistance , on the other hand, slows us down after we get started it is a tendency to stop after we have started.

      I experience both in my life – starting a project is hard (inertia) and finishing a project is hard (resistance). They work together to keep me from doing what I want to do.

      Thanks for the insight. I think I will write a post on this soon.


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  • Amazing article!