Alejandro Jodorowsky on pity and failure

In an interview in his book El Topo: A Book of the Film (transcribed and put online by Don Alex Hixx), Alejandro Jodorowsky tells a story of when he was painting houses. The head painter told him to plaster a crack in the wall, before hitting Jodorowsky over the head, “Like the Zen Masters who would hit their disciples,” with a stick inscribed with “In springtime, the flowers bloom.”

Then he picked up a piece of iron pipe, broke the plaster, and made the crack larger. And then he plastered it over again. And he told me that as long as I pitied the crack, I could never plaster it well. To cure a wound, you must first open it. You must not simply leave it the way you found it. You must respect it. That’s why I don’t pity myself. If I have to cut a section from the film, I cut it. And if I fail, I accept that too. That’s why I saw that I have triumphed in life… because I’ve learned how to fail.

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